Vancouver housing activists plan to set up another tent city

An organizer of a protest that was shut down by police at the former Olympic Village site on Saturday says housing activists are determined to set up their tent city again.

“We’re definitely planning on coming back twice as strong, and bigger and better,” Vancouver Action organizer Nathan Crompton said in a phone interview. “We’re feeling stronger than we ever have felt.”

Protestors walked from the Downtown Eastside to the former athletes’ village Saturday (February 26) afternoon and began setting up tents in the central plaza of the complex. After being told to leave the city property, the activists moved their tents to an empty lot across the street, followed by a heavy police presence.

Not long after setting up on that site, Crompton said activists were told by police to leave the private property. A group of about a dozen activists then occupied an empty storefront, which Crompton described as a “vast” retail space.

“This empty space in the Olympic Village could house a vast number of people,” he said. “The area of the space is in my estimation larger than every shelter in this city combined.”

Eleven protestors occupying the site were later arrested and taken to the police station. By late Saturday night, the group was released.

Crompton said while a location hasn’t yet been determined, organizers plan to set up another tent city.

The housing activists want to see the original plan for two-thirds of social housing at the site restored.

“We’ll continue making the same demands that we’ve made, which is an immediate moratorium on the sell-off of promised social housing units at the Olympic Village,” Crompton said, noting activists are also calling for social housing throughout the city.

“In this city, we’re thousands of units behind,” said Crompton. “We need to make up for 10 years of market development and gentrification and lack of affordable housing.”

While two-thirds of the former athlete’s village complex, which was recently renamed The Village on False Creek, was designated as affordable housing in the site’s original plan, the number of units reserved for social housing was since decreased to 126. Another 126 units are being rented out at market rates, with priority given to essential workers such as first responders, and health care and public education workers.

According to Thom Armstrong, the executive director of the Co-operative Housing Federation of British Columbia, 45 units in two of the city-owned rental buildings have so far been rented out, including 16 market rental units for essential workers. These units are moving slower than anticipated, although Armstrong said interest has picked up since the recent relaunch of condo sales at the village.

The non-market units range in price from $375 a month to about $1,200, while rates for the market units range from $1501 for a one-bedroom condo to $2368 for a four-bedroom unit.

An information session for a building designated for co-op housing will be held in the next couple of weeks. Armstrong said the goal is to fill 100 of the market and below-market rental units by the end of March.

Comments (32) Add New Comment
Sven Crawson
Looks like the Mayor had these losers evicted.
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Michael Geller
If these housing activists really care about housing for the homeless, they will NOT protest...because they'll do more harm than good for their cause. But if they want to be the centre of attraction, and watch themselves on the evening news, then they'll protest. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the Vancouver media would ignore them...
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Sasha Sash
it sucks the police got their grubby hands into the tent city so quickly, but i'm so excited to see what happens next!! this is the kind of work that needs to happen so that we can have a city that actually meets those "most livable city" polls vancouver seems to wind up on, a vancouver which is actually livable! go tent city go!
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Peter Parker
Those of us who pay the bill have a question: where is the end of it?

How many units must be built to solve the problem? Who gets to live in them? For how long? At what expense in maintenance and operation? At what expense in construction? Why shouldn't taxpayers get free housing too?

Those who demand social housing "for all" never talk about the endgame. They never talk about obligation -- only 'entitlement'.

If we build 10,000 units in Vancouver, will we attract ten thousand who will come for the good weather and the free housing? Vancouver cannot go it alone. An effective policy must be a national policy. Otherwise, we will create an unaffordable and unsustainable mecca in SW Canada.

Those who demand social housing "for all" must answer a simple question: when is enough enough? If there is no end in sight, we're not buying it.
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NDB
Why does vancouver have to be "affordable"? Is it written somewhere that people have a right to affordable housing and that everyone is accountable to provide it?
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Richard Fresh
The door's open come on in.
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Steve Y
People want more money for "homeless housing" so these so called "activists" can go for spas and eat fancy chocolate on the tax payers dime like in toronto...

http://www.thestar.com/news/article/946404--ford-to-clean-house-at-tchc-...
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Sid Tan

Short video of Olympic Village Tent City. I was impressed the the fresh and enthusiastic faces of young people getting involved in the political process which includes protests. http://www.creativetechnology.org/video/video/listForContributor?screenN...

@Micheal Geller - what harm to social housing in protesting broken promises and debt?

@Peter Parker - a lot of people who pay taxes want more affordable and social housing

@NDB - good you can afford living in Vancouver. Issue is more lack of national housing strategy...

@Sven Crawson - we (residents of Vancouver) are all winners because the Tent City partcipants organise and exercise their rights. It's called participation in political process...
@
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pumpkinheadbc
n this video Michael Geller tells us why empty condos are good for the city

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipg8iJJpuj0
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Sven Crawson
These stupid "tent protests" or whatever you want to call them are about as useful and effective as the Critical Massholes who create chaos all over the city for hours on end to protest god only knows what. All they know how to do is be against something, and be a jerk while doing it.
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Ray I
Keep protesting! The more you losers protest the more average taxpayers like me hate you and your cause and will react; not be acquiescent to your demands. I think Vancouver council should react by removing ALL social housing from the Olympic Village. Housing is one thing but housing in luxury is not a right!
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Second Nation
Protesting: it's easier than working!
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Bruno15
Setting up a tent city as a political protest of the lack of affordable housing in Vancouver is akin to robbing a bank to protest the lack of jobs.

I'd be shocked if the guy who threw the brick through the window of the Bay store during the Olympics isn't in this tent city holding out for his right to a waterfront view condo at the Olympic Village.
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NDB
@Sid
My comment has nothing to do with what I can or can not afford. Certainlty there is more I want to have in life, but I dont ask others to provide it.

I pay taxes and I want a reasonable amount of social housing. I dont think social housing at waterfront locations is needed, I dont even think its needed in the center of Vancouver which is extremely sought after. One social unit, is one taken away from someone who works and wants to live downtown.

I think social housing should be spread out in areas affordable to develop. I think it should come with an element of accountability and those who use it should "give back" in some way.

When will it ever be enough? When everyone has a house? Then what...protest people should have bigger houses, or a garage? Why not social cars too?!
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actually from vancouver
I don't get why people want to live in Vancouver so badly. I've never known this city to be a very friendly/human place to be... and most of these comments only reaffirm my belief. Vancouver is like Tolkein's ring: mesmerising and capable of bringing out the worst in us.

Stop fighting for this "place". Let Vancouver become what it was destined to be: an international urban resort. We'll all commute in from Surrey to build and maintain the luxary real estate, casinos, and high-end retail. It sucks to be displaced from your community, but that's global capitalism for ya.
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Ray I
@ actually from vancouver - I was born and raised in Vancouver. I have lived in East Van, Gastown, Yaletown, Chinatown and Granville Island. I lived in placed that I could afford. I also drove the type of vehicle (or public transit) i could afford and ate the food that I could afford. I am pretty sure that makes me a typical "global capitalist" as you are wanton to label honest, hard working taxpayers.

Why do these unemployed/underemployed/lazy protesters not get it? You don't demand from those of us who sacrifice for what we have those things that you have not earned. No one is in favour of homelessness. Most average Vancouverites want to help people who have no place to live. But why are they so unrealistic and unreasonable. We are being reasonable in agreeing to pay for housing but that is not enough you. And you wonder why you are not being successful in converting us to support your cause?

Well get a clue. We don't support our deficit borrowed tax dollars spent on housing the homeless in accommodations that we can't even afford. Your protesting this just makes you look greedy and out of touch with those of us who pay the bills.

Mayne we should set up picket lines in front of all the Ministry of Social Service offices on Welfare Wednesday so you don't get paid, then move over to all the agencies that we support through charity giving and block the access to free food and clothing. Maybe your ilk just need to be taught a lesson!
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Taxpayers R Us
Housing activists are funny...the spokespeople keep them occupied long enough to go into withdrawls, they rant and rave until the dealer shows up, get evicted but can't do anything about it in the state they're in lol
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criminal nation
OLYMPIC VILLAGE TENT CITY RALLY VANCOUVER

http://criminalnationnews.blogspot.com/
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unknown sample
I don't believe anyone takes these protesters seriously. I certainly don't.

These self-entitled class warfare types are a bore. Furthermore, they further marginalize the very people they pretend to advocate.

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Stan Chou
The protesters just don't get it.

They want to live -- for free - in deluxe waterfront housing.

They want to live -- for free -- in housing that 85% of the taxpayers could never afford to live in.

They want to live -- for free -- at an address that those of us who pay taxes could never dream of living in.

Why should we subsidize your fantasies? If I can work hard all my life to buy my own home, why should I pay for yours? You want to much. You contribute to little.

There doesn't seem to be any limit to your willingness to live off my hard work, at an address I could never afford. No way, Jose.
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