Affordable? Hardly!

October 2, 2014

My friends at the Community Association of New Yaletown (CANY) have been engaged in a furious attempt to stop a plan by the City to build a huge tower shadowing Emery Barnes Park.  They recently had a four-day court hearing regarding alleged skullduggery between the City and developers, and are awaiting the verdict.

CANY has a number of important and specific issues with the project.  More generally, they have hit the wall of the City’s bizarre view on “affordability”.  Alan Albert of CANY recently shared his thoughts on this, which I quote with his permission.

This City policy is just so wrong. Defining “affordable” as $1,443 per month for a studio means that a developer can build a 320 sq. ft. studio and rent it out as “affordable” housing, collecting rents that are higher on a per-square-foot basis than luxury units. The developer gains outsize profits, the City waives levies needed to pay for important amenities, and the renters are the losers.

This is not “affordable” housing. It’s simply subsidizing developer profits on the backs of taxpayers.

The City used the same tactic in describing “social housing” at the corner of E,mery Barnes Park that will rent at per-square-foot prices that are higher than for luxury apartments with water views.

I can’t tell if Vision is intentionally giving away profits to developers on the backs of taxpayers and selling it by calling it “affordable”, or if they’re truly stupid and don’t understand the counter-productiveness of their actions. Regardless, let’s call attention to it for what it is: wrong.

Voters should remember this when, during the election, Vision tries to spin out its failure to keep this city truly affordable for the working Janes and Joes of Vancouver.

The CANY website recently ran a post on this topic, at