Friday, October 8, 2010

Two views on the Olympic Village Social/Rental Housing from the Vancouver Courier

Recently, the Vancouver Courier has published a couple of pieces regarding the social housing at the Olympic Village. On October 6th, Cheryl Rossi wrote this piece:

Potential Olympic Village buyers concerned about social housing factor

Today, Allen Garr wrote an opinion piece which is linked below, following whichI posted the following comment on my Facebook Page:
Michael Geller I have fewer concerns if the coop hsg federation manages the social and market rental housing at Olympic Village, instead of the Portland Hotel Society. But I still believe that selling the units as affordable housing on leased land would have been the best option. But I agree with Allen Garr, the decision has been made and it's time to move on!

What I don't agree with is Allen's assertion that the city could not recover its costs if the units were sold. That's even contrary to what the city staff said in their April 20, 2010 report in which they reported a net return to the city in the range of $28.5 to $66.8 million. I also don't agree that selling the social/rental units would necessaily compromise the sale of the more expensive market units. As long as these units were carefully positioned as different products catering to different markets, this need not be a problem. Moreover, as Cheryl Rossi's Courier story reveals keeping the social housing units could adversely impact sales.

However, I realize it is time to move on. I am glad that I did have some success in fostering a debate on the issue and was gratified by editorials in both the Vancouver Sun and Province supporting the sale of the units. I also appreciated calls from many people from all over the political spectrum, and from all walks of life.

So now I will focus on other things.... including my forthcoming proposal for 'gentle densification' in West Vancouver and a presentation next Tuesday night in Surrey as part of Homelessness Action Week.

To those of you who have been following this matter with me, and especially to those who have written and called offering words of support, thank you.

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