Little Mountain Update: After Vancouver’s Real Estate Secret Revealed, Province Vows to Act on Social Housing Project

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VANCOUVER –

A little over a week after the revelation of a “darling deal” in a major social housing project in Vancouver, the province promises to act with a deal to speed up construction.

According to the BC Ministry of the Attorney General, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed regarding the development of Little Mountain.

This memorandum of understanding was signed by the province, the City of Vancouver and Holborn Properties Ltd., the company that purchased prime land near Queen Elizabeth Park in 2008.

The province says the memorandum of understanding “aims to speed up construction” on the site, a 15-acre parcel of land purchased for $ 344 million.

At the time of its purchase, hundreds of low-income families were evicted and their homes destroyed. Holborn has promised to build more social housing on the land, but so far only a few dozen units have been built.

The contract, obtained by CTV News through the Freedom of Information process, shows the developer received a loan from the province of $ 211 million, interest-free until Dec.31, 2026.

The contract did not appear to have a clear deadline as to when the units were to be ready.

It was a contract described by David Chudnovsky, a former NDP MP for the region, as a “deal of hearts” and a “colossal failure”.

The deal was negotiated by the BC Liberals, who were in charge of the province at the time.

Attorney General and Housing Minister David Eby was quick to point out that the deal did not involve the NDP government in its MOU announcement on Friday.

“Enough is enough with the Little Mountain tragedy orchestrated by the previous government that resulted in the bulldozing of a low-income community, an interest-free loan of hundreds of millions of dollars and a huge wasteland growing weeds in the middle of a dwelling. crisis, ”he said.

He stopped criticizing Holborn, saying “we wouldn’t be here today” if the company hadn’t agreed to drop its lawsuit and make the contract public.

Eby called it a “good faith gesture”, which enabled a new deal, this time including a timeline. Holborn has until December 31, 2024 to prepare non-market housing.

When the contract was first secured, CTV News contacted Holborn Properties but received no response.

In a statement from the province on Friday, Holborn manager Joo Kim Tiah called the memorandum of understanding a commitment by all parties to “move quickly” to four non-commercial developments at the site.

When completed, the Little Mountain project will include 282 new social housing units, 10 of which will be for members of the Musquem Nation.

A rental project of 53 housing units for the elderly and people with disabilities opened six years ago, and a project of 62 housing units for families and older people is expected to be completed in winter 2022.

The site will also include a day care center, a neighborhood center and a public park. BC Housing will own 234 of the units, and the remaining 48 will be owned by the City of Vancouver.

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s St. John Alexander

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