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Chickens End Vacation Early, Start Coming Home to Roost Before Olympics

Vancouverites who are looking forward to the Olympics haven't been thinking about the coming financial hangover, and there will be one.  Once the fanfare is done, and the Jamaican bobsled team is back home snorkeling for the rest of the winter, people in Vancouver are going to face the sticker shock, like they're at an Edmonton Oilers Christmas party.

One of the biggest cost over-runs was the Olympic Village, and the city is on the hook for $110 million. City Council had originally discussed the idea of having 252 of the 600 units be assigned as social housing, but that's not looking very likely. The city has to make it's money back somehow, and renting a unit to a low-income family just isn't going to cut it.

City staff had calculated last year that Vancouver would have to forego getting back $77-million of its construction costs if it wanted to provide the highest level of subsidies for the lowest-income families.

Using the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) rental formula of $2.50/sq. ft., the 1770 sq. ft two bedroom units would rent for $4400, let alone what the 4 bedroom family units would rent for. In order to make the 4 bedroom units affordable to low-income families, city staff had estimated a rental cost of $1275 for those in the highest "need" category.

It's a real political pickle, because the city is either going to renege on an implicit promise to provide social housing, or it's going to make many other citizens angry at the level of subsidy they're on the hook for.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to finish filling out my paperwork to be adopted by a low income family.

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