We're late! Another late distribution report from Vision's "no consultation" council
UPDATE: In a farcical disregard for the public, Vision rams through their housing operator decision (which they labeled URGENT) a 12:55am. Another Late Show with Vision Vancouver to spoil the interest of citizens...
In yet another signal of Vision Vancouver's arrogant disregard for the input of the citizens they're supposed to represent, the City has slipped in a late distribution report on the Olympic Village social/rental housing, touting it as "URGENT". The decisions put forward by staff will commit tens of millions of dollars with little oversite from the public.
We know exactly what the spin is going to be from the Mayor's office. We are sooo desperate for this housing that we need to get people housed immediately! There is not time to talk – we must act NOW!
The council report, which was only posted on the City's website after 4pm today, will tie Vancouver into a 60 year lease arrangement. It says:
The RFP process took 6 months and therefore at this time there is a real urgency to enable utilization of the affordable housing units on parcels 5 and 9 by our target tenants.
Yeah, sure it's "urgent". Here's the city council that decided to wait until AFTER the Olympics were over to decide on the social/market housing mix. They took the 20% social housing promise and squashed it down to 11%, then tied the project to a requirement of allowing police, firefighters and unionized teachers to get first dibs on the rental units.
BC Housing was saddled with well over a dozen changes to the RFP, and the region's top social housing operators balked at getting involved. Then Minister Rich Coleman took one look at the three applicants left, and washed the Province's hands of it.
Vision Vancouver, ever determined to have their showpiece social housing in Southeast False Creek, are rejecting perfectly reasonable suggestions to sell or make as leasehold these units, and take the profits and purchase many times more units outside of SEFC.
This afternoon council is being asked to approve a special purpose Housing Co-operative established by the Co-operative Housing Federation of BC (CHFBC) as Lessee and Operator of the City-owned 84 unit affordable rental housing project. The CHFBC was one of the operators rejected in Coleman's decision.
The amount of money Vancouver has invested into this property, and the amount being utilized for this housing is considerable. Furthermore, as the City will not be partnering with BC Housing, they are putting Vancouver taxpayers on the hook for all risk associated with this project:
The total cost of construction of the Southeast False Creek affordable housing is $110,000,000. Of this amount $38,009,949 is the cost for Parcel 2 [the social housing]. Under the Lease Agreement, the City will receive prepaid rent ( the proceeds of operator mortgage) of $21,202,7451.
BC Housing is not involved in this affordable housing project, and therefore the Lessee/Operator will need contingent financial backing from the City for the mortgage it will have to obtain in order to deliver the prepaid rent to the City. As a result, the City may be required to provide some form of guarantee or indemnity to the Lessee's lender.
It's astonishing that these kinds of dollars are being committed to without any proper notification of the meeting. Vision's use of "late distribution" has become all too commonplace, and it's a clear indication of their arrogant style of politics.
Look for this decision to be rammed through at council's Thursday night meeting.
UPDATE: Wow. It was quite a night. We started to live tweet the meeting and because of the responses of followers kept going until 1am!! Too much information to process now, but the tweets start here. The meeting ended up getting taken over by protesters from VAN-ACT, who couldn't stand anymore puffery from Coun. Raymond Louie after he chided them and said they were saving lives by holding the meeting until 1am. Pffft.
- post by Mike