Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Olympic Village Boondoggle: Jim Dandy To The Rescue?


Or, to be more precise, Gordon Campbell?

To the rescue I mean:

G&M Jan 14/09: The B.C. legislature will hold a special session before the regular sitting of the legislature on Feb. 10 to deal with a request by city of Vancouver to allow it to borrow almost $500-million for the troubled Olympic Village project, Premier Gordon Campbell says.

The premier made the commitment Wednesday following a speech on another topic in Vancouver.

“As a government, we want to do everything we can to help and we will do it as quickly as possible. There are some significant economic downsides to dithering on it,” Mr. Campbell said....

Now, at this point there is no reason to think that this will involve anything more than the charter change that Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson asked for earlier in the week so that we, the citizens of Lotusland, can borrow a big whack of cash to pay off the usurers from Fortress.

But what if.....

Lotusland had something more to offer Mr. Campbell?

Something that would make him a champion of the underdogs and the downtrodden rather than stainless steel fridges and marble counter tops?

Like, say, a real mixed community in South-East False Creek that everyone, not just Spec-U-Vesters, could be proud of.


If you don't mind too much, I shall digress for a moment....

Earlier today a(nother) pretty interesting discussion broke out over at Frances Bula's place after she asked:

"What might the project have cost if it had gone ahead as one-third social housing, one-third market rental, and one-third market condos, as COPE/Vision originally planned?..."

Now, based on the other stuff she brought up in the post, I think Ms. Bula was making the point that jumping all over the previous one-term NPA/Sullivan regime for all the mistakes made in the Boondoggle is not quite fair.

Which is not a point I am yet willing to surrender entirely.

However, I have been thinking of pretty much the same question, but for a different reason.

As a result, I left the following comment on the thread:

"I very much agree with Frances that it would be very useful if we had a good cost analysis of all the various component parts of the project.

However, persuant to VHB’s point that speculating on a market bounce is very possibly folly, I think it would also be very useful if we started to seriously retro-analyze what it would cost to alter the parameters of those component parts, in various degrees, perhaps even all the way back to the 2005 proposal (ie. 1/3 each of social/market rental/marked condos).

Would the resulting numbers be crazy?


But if there were things in it for other government bodies other than the CoV to support (ie. governments that may soon change and/or are looking for ways to spend components their infrastructure/stimulus packages that are coming online), well……"

Are you getting my drift here?

Stimulus packages are being readied....Mr. Campbell is exposed on his left flank, which normally might not matter much to him except that there is an election coming and the polls are narrowing....Therefore, maybe there are mutually beneficial things that could be worked out/brokered by principled folks that want to get good things done for all the right reasons.

Folks like, say, this.


At the very least, I would think that the Opposition might want to consider raising the issue when Mr. Campbell does, indeed, open the Ledge for the 37 extra seconds it will likely take to change the charter.
For the record, nobody over at FABula's took my bait....All the other commenters are too busy discussing whether the market will bounce back and/or how developers and developments work in a free vs. regulated market....which is not to say that it is not a good discussion - it is...and many of the folks there, folks like VHB, are very knowledgable....It's just that I think that making things attractive for other governments, governments that need to spend money on infrastructure/stimulus packages at the moment, could be a hail-mary game changer here.
In case you missed's the link to Gary Mason's live chat from earlier today....not a whole lot new there, except the Mace Man's teaser that tomorrow's story might have more on the allegedly non-compliant CFO story.
Finally, for those of you that maybe thought this post was actually going to have something to do with Southern-Fried StoneGlamHenge Rock...well.... here it is.


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