Immediate Release: September 22, 2009
After yesterday’s positive announcement by the City and the Province that Little Mountain tenants would be able to stay onsite while the 1:1 replacement social housing portion of the development was expedited and built, several questions still remain.
Yesterday, tenants of Little Mountain housing were delivered a letter from BC Housing stating:
If you do not want to take advantage of these services, you have the option of relocating to one of the units we have designated in the area of the site near 37th and Main, so that demolition work can be carried out across the rest of the site…If you choose to relocate to one of these units, you are advised that you will still need to move off-site at a future date so demolition of the entire site can be completed….So, I would ask you to give strong consideration to working with our relocation office staff now to identify other subsidized housing options, since everyone will have to move off the site eventually.
No timeline has been provided for the “eventual” move.
According to COPE Councillor Woodsworth, “I had understood the tenants would not have to move. We don’t have a time line as to when anything will be built but it seems to me they should be able to leave tenants in place and construct the social units on another part of the site. Tenants who prefer to stay should be able to remain on-site as long as possible so that they do not take other housing in the city that is needed by the thousands of other people on the BC housing waiting list.”
Another question surrounds the 1:1 replacement. It is not clear if the replacement is 1:1 in terms of square footage, or just in terms of units. For example, if the arrangement just refers to units, a three-bedroom unit could be replaced with a one-unit one.
Councillor Woodsworth has additional questions regarding financing: “Six of the fourteen sites were already in the provincial budget so there is no new money here, only an expedited process. Where is the timeline for the next set of sites?”
She continues, “it is much cheaper for the tax payer to house people now than the rack up medical and policing bills until the undetermined time when this additional housing will be built. There’s a possibility for the new Little Housing development to be a great mixed-use neighbourhood. It’s time to get moving on all of the committed sites.”