Saturday, January 15, 2011

I love the irony. Geoff Meggs no longer supports socially mixed communities

Off course, Geoff Meggs does support socially mixed communities. but if you read on, you'll see that he may be supporting a motion that removes low income housing from the north shore of False Creek, where it is needed, and added to the DTES, where it is not needed.

Jeff Lee has a story in today's Vancouver Sun about Concord's proposal to donate 2 DTES sites in lieu of including social housing in the next phase of False Creek north. I can't help but note the irony of Geoff Megg's reluctant support for the proposition.

When I suggested a while back that the city not meet the social housing requirement at Olympic Village, and instead sell the sites and use the much needed money to build out social housing on the north shore of False Creek or elsewhere, Jim Green wrote in the Vancouver Sun that was prejudiced towards poor people. At the time, Geoff Meggs, who I consider a bright and capable guy, took great delight in posting Jim Green's mean-spirited article criticizing me on his website.

And now Geoff seems to be prepared to support a proposal that excludes social housing from the next phase of False Creek North! Why, because the city doesn't have the money to build out the sites it already has on the North Shore of False Creek....something I pointed out in my earlier proposals.

But there's a big the case of the Olympic Village, there was over $100 million at stake...the difference between the city selling and keeping the sites. $100 million that the City would not lose on the OV project. In this instance, if the Council approves the deal, the city gets two sites with assessed values of under $10 million. Thats a difference of a very significant zero! It is worth noting that the total number of units is not that dissimilar.

Furthermore, in this particular instance, the proposition will result in two more social housing sites in the DTES and a further concentration of low income people in that community....a community that desperately needs a broader social mix.

I supported a previous proposal by Concord to build affordable condominiums on the site at 58 West Hastings and still think it is an excellent location for affordable condominiums next to a social housing project. Alternatively, I can forsee a plan for a mix of condos and housing for local and international artists, that would be a great addition to the DTES community.

So what's the solution? A better deal would be for the city to work out an arrangement with Concord that will see new social housing developed on one of the previously identified social housing sites on False Creek North. After all, Geoff and Jim Green and their colleagues keep pointing out how important it is to have socially mixed communities....and a different solution for Concord's DTES sites.

If Geoff does support the staff report and motion that goes before Council on Tuesday, I do hope he will acknowledge that maybe I wasn't being prejudiced towards the poor when I made a proposition that would have added social housing to the north shore of False Creek. And Geoff need not have any concerns about compromising his re-election campaign, which a reporter recently noted is now underway on his website. I am not planning to run in November's election.


Jamie Lee Hamilton said...

Michael you were not being prejudiced against the poor but it seemed out of character for you to demand that lower-income people not be allowed to live among the affluent at Olympic Village. It was an Olympic promise to have some affordable housing there and I believe that promises should be made with the intent of keeping them. This Olympic legacy ensured that our lower income citizens also gained from the riches of the Olympics.

Michael Geller said...

Jamie, the bigger issue is whether the city should now break its promise re: social housing on the north shore of False Creek. It doesn't need to.

Just as importantly, the city should not bow to pressure from CCAP and contemplate more social housing in the DTES...we need a more balanced community there too

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