Thursday, April 06, 2017

This Day In Lotusland...Playing Three Dot Monty With A Land Swap Loan.


Following up on the work, persistence and digging of concerned citizens like Glen Chernen and the Community Association of New Yaletown,  Sam Cooper has written a most interesting PostMedia piece on the big downtown Lotuslandian land swap that re-built some social housing (without increasing the stock) while simultaneously 'unlocking' the re-development potential of one of the chunks of (no longer) city land:

...Now, four years after the city gave 508 Helmcken to the developer at a $15-million value, it has been assessed as high as $130 million by B.C. Assessment, and documents show that it could be worth even more at market rates...


That lock sure did hold back a whole lotta moola.

Interestingly, the great unlocking also involved a loan from BC Housing (i.e. your money and mine) that apparently helped facilitate that decidedly un-social (three million dollar apartments for all!), unlocking:

...NDP housing critic David Eby has asked why B.C. Housing, which is mandated to provide social housing, provided a previously undisclosed $39-million loan to (the developer) Brenhill. The loan in 2016 required reporting of pre-sales progress in the luxury tower...


Alrighty then.

With that pre-amble out of the way, let's get on with the game!

Dot #1:

...Bob Rennie was involved in bringing forward the loan proposal to B.C. Housing’s board, while Rennie was a member of that board, in November 2013...

Dot #2:

...Rennie recused himself from the discussion and approval of the funding for Brenhill from B.C. Housing in the deal, documents show. But B.C. Housing officials refused to disclose to Postmedia why Rennie recused himself...

Now, while you keep your eyes on those two dots just revealed, how about we hunt down that all important  Dot #3, which has actually been out in the open for ages, all the while being well-polished by breathless promotional pre-sales puff pieces that include money shots like the following from Claudia Kwan, also 'published' in PostMedia's prints:

...“With so many projects, people ask how big the units are, how much does it cost, and what’s the view,” says Tracie McTavish, executive director of project marketer Rennie Marketing Systems...

Game over?



North Van's Grumps said...

Is this why Rennie stood back from collecting funds for the BC Liberal Party?

Lew said...

Recall pointing this out on Twitter to @CityHallWchVan and @unionwill on March 17. Dot #3 hasn’t been hidden, but the big question for me is whether the RCMP will connect it as part of the overall picture. Two current RCMP investigations should include Rennie’s activities but the RCMP doesn’t have my confidence in the conduct of either of them. They seem disinterested at best and there’ll be no report, so we won’t know what information they look at or how it’s treated. I suppose they could always surprise us, but colour me doubtful.

RossK said...


A most interesting question...I think there may have been other triggers at play.



I agree, that third dot has been out in the open (and highly publicized) for some time now.

It's interesting to me how few of the proMedia stories have noted this third dot.

On another topic...

Have you, by chance, come across that FOI response to a certain no-bid contract that was supposed to surface by Mar 31st?


Lew said...


No I haven't. Shocking they'd miss the due date. I'm assuming it will be posted at theBreaker when it arrives some day in the post-election fog.

RossK said...


And what with the legislature's dissolution on April 11th there will no one left to do said 'legislative review'.

Of course, six months from now the Keef et al. will say that it doesn't matter anyway because the people have spoken with their blindfolded vote.

Or some such thing

e.a.f. said...

OMG I'm cross eyed.

What I don't get is why they had to "swap" land. Why couldn't affordable housing have been built on the site the expensive condos are being built on, beyond the lot had views.

The City could have built a tower and rented them to people living and working in B.C. could have made them family sized and made it available to people who made under $150K a year and it would have provided blended housing. Of course Rennie and the like would not have made a lot of money and tax payers might have lived some where they enjoyed.

Mayor Moonbeam, Rennie, B.C. Lieberals all need to get the heave. This is our home they are playing with.

RossK said...



Well...There is also the 'hangover' to consider...

It seems the key question to ask where all of these fine folks are concerned is...

Ultimately, who benefits (most)?


Lew said...

Asked to confirm an investigation is underway, RCMP E Division's Staff Sgt. Annie Linteau provided a brief emailed statement.

"We received some information and are currently reviewing the materials to determine our next steps," said Linteau. "The scope of the review has not been determined and we will take the time necessary to complete a thorough examination."

Translation? “We are going to take our sweet time deciding whether to investigate.”

And sweet time in RCMPish lingo means many maƱanas. If at all.

e.a.f. said...

Lew how right you are. the RCMP signed that 20 year deal with the B.C. Lieberals. a new government in office might can it and where would the RCMP be then. Come to think about it even the RCMP benefits from Christy remaining in office. oh, well guess that is why Quebec gets their corruption looked at ever so often and B.C. not so much.

Anonymous said...

BCLibs favorite photo op annual song?