Will the city take Concord’s empty Hastings properties for social housing?

Have you been listening to the news lately? The city may take over 2 DTES properties on Hastings owned by Concord Pacific, one of the biggest real estate companies in Canada. But not for free. It would be a “switcheroo” that allows Concord to build 100% condos on 2 North False Creek properties that are supposed to be social housing. The two Concord sites in the DTES are on Hastings. One is 58 W Hastings (Olympic tent city site across from Funky’s) and another is 117 E Hastings (the garden near Insite). “58” is advertised to be “Greenwich” condos. Likely the garden site was going to be condos too. In at least 2 surveys of DTES residents that CCAP knows about, the vast majority of residents call for more social housing in their neighbourhood. The Olympic tent city site is named as one of the 10 sites that the DTES Neighbourhood Council wants for 100% social housing. The housing on these 2 potentially city owned sites could really help make a dent in the homelessness problem by providing housing for low-income seniors, for low-income families, for Aboriginal and Chinese community members and more.

So, this sounds like a great opportunity, right? That’s what we thought when we first heard it too, but there are serious concerns.

Firstly, Concord has already made their millions in profits. After Expo, Concord got a sweet deal for cheap land on False Creek and over the years built tons of condos along the waterfront. Recently, Concord built “Smart” condos across the street from Four Sisters Housing Co-op on Powell Street and gave nothing back to the community. Concord can afford, with their profits to “give” and not “exchange” the DTES property.

Secondly, consider this even bigger problem. If this switeroo goes ahead, not only would there be no social housing on False Creek, but the two DTES properties may not end up with social housing on them either. On CBC radio, Vision Councillor Meggs said 58 West should have housing for “couples with good paying jobs.”

So, what can we do about all this? CCAP will push the city to get the Hastings sites for free, build social housing on False Creek and work to ensure the Hastings sites have 100% social housing on them. You can make your point of view heard to city council at an upcoming public hearing at 12th and Cambie on the 3rd floor in the city council chambers. Stay in touch with CCAP and come along to city hall with us when it happens. The last 2 times we gave our input to council on housing issues in the DTES, we managed to shift them a little. This could be another example of that.