Olympic Village social housing under construction (Oct 2009)
GlobalTV News first broke the story of backroom in-camera secret negotiations happening in regards to the Olympic Village development. This was followed by vehement denials by Mayor Gregor Robertson and City Manager Penny Ballem. As this story is unfolding this afternoon everyone is still confused by the City's bizarre response.
According to an early report by the Globe and Mail, Millennium Development Corp. was being required to pay $561 million dollars immediately. The City acknowledged that the developer did not make its first full $200 million loan payment as far back as August 31st, falling short by $8 million. Then they updated to say that Millennium had paid another $5 million for a total of $3 million outstanding.
Mayor Gregor Robertson in full spin mode said the reason for the admission now and not last week is because he wants his government "to be open and transparent". In actual fact, they've known the situation for weeks, and it appears they are only now coming clean publicly because they got caught.
This situation will likely have HUGE implications for Vancouver taxpayers. See Frances Bula's updates on this story on the Globe and Mail website.
Here is what Mayor Robertson told CKNW radio this afternoon:
I have faith that we're going to continue on here. We have the best marketer in the country in Rennie Marketing Associates on this. But obviously we need a new sales plan. We want to see that urgently. I think it's clear that the current arrangement is not producing results. We don't have a lot of time to waste here.
Now contrast that with the Mayor's go slow, we need time comments from just last week in The Province:
Vancouver city council and Mayor Gregor Robertson are taking a wait-and-see approach as Millennium Developments prepares to offer a fall incentive program to spark sales of 480 remaining Olympic Village condos in advance of a pending loan repayment deadline.
"We need to be patient," Robertson said Saturday. - Sept 26, 2010