September 28, 2022
TEAM proposes $500 million City of Vancouver investment in affordable co-operative housing to create homes for over 4,000 people, build up to 2,000 new units for all income levels
Vancouver voters to be asked to approve plan in referendum
Vancouver – TEAM For A Livable Vancouver today proposed a $500 million City of Vancouver investment in affordable co-operative housing to create homes for over 4,000 people in up to 2,000 new units for all income levels, using City land for locations across Vancouver.
TEAM mayoralty candidate and Councillor Colleen Hardwick said today that the proposal would be put to Vancouver voters in a mail ballot referendum within 18 months of taking office.
“This co-op housing proposal would be the single biggest increase in 100% affordable housing the city has ever seen at one time,” Hardwick said. “The $500 million expense would be amortized over 30 years and the co-op rents would recover costs to the City, while Vancouver would retain ownership of the lands and lease it out over a long term.”
“Vancouver needs affordable housing – not expensive strata condos that ordinary people cannot afford, and not simply “market rate housing” or slightly below market rates that ABC’s Ken Sim and Forward Together’s Kennedy Stewart keep talking about – we need affordable housing for the missing middle and for working people who can no longer rent or buy in Vancouver.”
Hardwick said the $500 million affordable housing co-op proposal is just the start – TEAM would approach both the federal and provincial government to ask each to become full partners in the affordable co-op housing proposal, so that with an additional one-third each, the project could become a much larger $1.5 billion fund to house over 12,000 people and build up to 6,000 units of affordable housing.
Professor Patrick Condon, Founding Chair of the UBC Urban Design Program, Faculty of Applied Science, said the TEAM proposal is a game changer for Vancouver.
“This is an innovative and practical proposal that could create affordable housing for thousands of Vancouver residents who have little hope of continuing to live in the city or see their kids and grandkids stay here,” Condon said.
“It’s so important that a mix of our city, from the well off, to the middle class and the economically disadvantaged all live together in the same vibrant neighbourhoods across our city,” Condon added.
Noted architect Brian Palmquist also praised the TEAM co-op housing proposal, saying that it is the appropriate response to Vancouver’s affordable housing crisis.
“Vancouver’s response to the affordable housing crisis is to say we need more supply but what gets built is not affordable – pricey strata condos and costly market rentals in the most expensive city in North America – that’s not the supply we need,” Palmquist said. “This co-op proposal builds 100% affordable housing units for people of different income levels and it pays for itself over time while retaining land ownership for Vancouver – what could be more appropriate when housing is our most important issue?”
Palmquist is an award-winning architect and author and was Managing Architect for the $1 billion Coal Harbour project phases 1 and 2.
Hardwick added that TEAM would give preference in building the new co-ops to small, local builders and construction contractors to help them get needed work and use their skills and experience for cost effective practices.
And Hardwick said she is convinced Vancouver voters will endorse the plan in a referendum as needed, cost effective and a big boost to affordable housing in the city.
“Our affordable housing plan is about giving people real hope about the future of living in our beautiful city – not the hype we hear from major corporate developers and other political parties that have simply failed over the past four years of skyrocketing rents and housing prices while prescribing more of the same but expecting different results,” Hardwick said. “We need 100% affordable housing built as soon as possible and this plan will, with the support of Vancouver residents, create thousands of new homes for people who desperately need them,” she said.
Hardwick noted that the ownership of these purpose-built rentals will remain with the city, providing a return to the ratepayers of Vancouver, as required by the terms of the Vancouver Property Endowment Fund. As this affordable housing comes on line, rental payments will provide cash flow, enabling us to pay back the land leases over 35 years while providing cash for further development.
Hardwick said that the proposal is inspired by the legacy of the original False Creek South creative housing solutions of the first TEAM party of her father Walter Hardwick and others in the early 1970s, when much of Vancouver’s existing co-op housing originated.