Not enough cheap housing in Games plan

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

Damian Inwood

Vancouver Coun. Jim Green wants to boost the low- and middle-income housing legacy that comes from the 2010 Olympic Athletes Village.

Right now, plans call for only 20 per cent of the $165-million, southeast False Creek units to be non-market housing.

“We may be looking at 30 per cent,” said Green yesterday. “When southwest False Creek was developed, it was one-third low income, one-third middle income and one-third what the market could bear.”

Green said the ratio was used by Art Phillips and Mike Harcourt when they were mayors of the city. It changed to 20 per cent for low income under then-mayor Gordon Campbell.

“I really like the one-third, one-third, one-third option, if we can make it work,” said Green, who speaks today at an Olympic round table at the Architectural Institute of B.C.’s annual conference.

“That’s probably the model that we’ll be looking at and I think we can do it. The great thing is that by 2020 we will be an inclusive city and people will come from around the world to see how we make that work.”

He said the low-income portion would be co-op or non-profit rental housing, the middle income would be starter homes and the remaining third would be high-end units.

Green said there are several ways of off-setting the cost through municipal, provincial or federal incentives.

“We are working with the feds on some major issues, coming to the table over the Olympics for housing,” added Green.

“It would require subsidies, there’s no question about that.”

The Olympic village will house up to 2,100 athletes and their coaches.

It will stand on six hectares of industrial land on the south shore of False Creek, east of the Cambie Bridge.

It will comprise 610,000 square feet of housing and 35,000 square feet of commercial space.

Construction is due to start in June 2008 and end in September 2009.

The city will lease the units to the 2010 Games for $30 million and after the Games, they will be available for housing.

© The Vancouver Province 2004

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