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Social housing to be built at Little Mountain by 2024

Last Updated Sep 10, 2021 at 6:35 pm PDT

Summary

A joint MOU signed Friday marks efforts between the city, province, site, and developer to expedite construction

The plan for the 15-acre space is to create 282 units of new housing, including condos, childcare, and more

Vancouver Coun. Christine Boyle emphasizes the importance of getting people housed quickly

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A redevelopment that has been under construction for over a decade will offer hundreds of units of social housing by the end of 2024, according to the City of Vancouver.

The city announced a joint MOU with the province, developer, and site on Friday to modernize Little Mountain Place.

The site used to be home to 224 people, most of whom were part of small groups and families. Now, there is only one building there, as all the others have been demolished to make room for a mix of market and non-market housing. It was the first large-scale modern housing project in Vancouver when it was originally erected in 1954.

When Little Mountain was sold to the developer, Holborn, the BC Liberals provided $211 million in interest-free loans for 18 years. The current NDP government has only received $35 million back from Holborn so far.

“Enough is enough with the Little Mountain tragedy that was orchestrated by the previous government that resulted in a low-income community bulldozed, an interest-free loan of hundreds of millions of dollars and a massive empty lot growing weeds in the middle of a housing crisis,” said David Eby, BC Attorney General and Minister for Housing, in a statement.

“We wouldn’t be here today if Holborn had not agreed to abandon their court action and release the original contract to the public. That good-faith gesture allowed us to enter into an agreement on timelines they also had no legal obligation to agree to. It’s now up to them and Vancouver to actually get this housing open, which will be met with relief by many people across the province. I am hopeful for the first time in a long time about this project.”


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Before the signing of the MOU, Holborn was embroiled in a legal battle with BC Housing to keep its 2008 acquisition contract private. Instead, they have agreed to leave the court case behind them.

Only one building and 153 of the 282 units are complete, and construction has not started on the remaining 167, Eby said in a statement.

When they’re complete, BC Housing will own 234 of them, and the City of Vancouver will own 48.

Coun. Christine Boyle says the sooner people can get into that housing, the better, especially considering the local shortage.

“The structure of the deal, which seems to have made it beneficial to put off development for as long as possible, is incredibly frustrating to me as someone working every day to try to figure out how to create more housing for people,” she said.

She alsoA new deal promises Little Mountain housing will be ready by 2024 encourages the province to work towards drafting a better deal with Holborn.

“It’s especially important for those of us in Vancouver who have been looking at this empty lot for more than a decade when we needed something better,” Boyle said.

The municipal government can take over poorly but privately managed care homes, but other than that, there’s not a lot the city can do, she said.

“We have been working on the permits. The delays haven’t been on the city end. They’ve been on the developer,” Boyle said.

When finished, there will be over a dozen buildings up to 12 storeys at Little Mountain, including condos, social housing, and local-serving retail and restaurant space. There will also be a childcare facility, neighbourhood house, public park and plaza, and more.