Wednesday, August 19, 2009


We all agree that we have a housing crisis, especially for the homeless and for low-income families.

We all agree something aught to be done.

And soon.

The first and primary villain in this continuing story is the 30 years of bad Federal Government, regardless of who was in the Big Chair.

Central Mortgage and Housing (CMHC) at one time lived up to its mandate and provided a steady flow of funds for social housing projects across the land.

The day they stopped, you started to see the results on your street corners.

But now, we add to the mix the Triple P (Public Private Partnerships) obsession of Premier Gordon Campbell.

The City of Vancouver and the Province got it into their woolen heads that the Little Mountain Housing site at 33d and Main - which has been accommodating hundreds of families for a great many years - should be torn down and replaced with something "better."

Of course, the Preem's idea of "better" always involves a profit for someone, preferably someone he knows.

God forbid, he should just build something BECAUSE IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

So, in this case, we have a company called Holborn Properties calling the shots.

The city does not control the timeline. The province, through BC Housing, chose Holborn Properties as the developer of the site in May of 2008. The terms of that deal are confidential.


Why should any of us know what our tax dollars are doing?

Holborn, by the way, has its own problems.

Holborn put a $500-million downtown Vancouver Ritz-Carlton project on hold in February, citing poor sales of luxury condos in the hotel-condo project.

Oy Vey. Poor babies.

So a social housing project, tied by the way to almost every other potential social housing project in the province, will probably take years and years to develop and complete.


Because the whole House of Canards depends on the global economy, the fortunes of one development company and a deal that even the City Of Vancouver hasn't been allowed to see.

The Mayor is a huge advocate of solving housing problems. Or so he would have us believe.

But the Mayor, like you and me, is powerless in the face of Backroom Deals, PPP's, and the utterly wrong ideology of a Premier with no real sense of social responsibility.


Anonymous said...

Holborn would be in a better state to finish what they've started were they not to contribute so much moola to Liberal coffers.

John Doheny said...

People tend to forget that before he was premiere, Gordon "Suds" Campbell was mayor of Vancouver, and one of the biggest toadies local real estate interests have ever been blessed with. If you put up a timeline showing Vancouver's transition from sleepy, bohemian lumber town to sterile megalopolis (without ever passing through cultured cosmopolitanism in between) the tipping point would be right around the start of his tenure as mayor.

I don't mean to bad rap a town I no longer live in, and believe me I thoroughly enjoy hanging out up there with old friends and colleagues when I come up to play jazzfest, but Vancouver really apalls me in what it's become. This last trip I stayed in the 7th and Oak area, a neighborhood I lived in for a number of years in the 70s in various cheap-but-ramshackle gorgeous old Victorian houses. All but a half dozen or so of those historic structures have been demolished and replaced by ugly, expensive and often leaky condos.

The architectural rape of Vancouver is one of the great untold stories of the city, and Gordo and his Visigoths led the charge when it was happening.