A former B.C. cabinet minister will co-chair Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson’s new task force on housing affordability, the city announced today (December 12).
Olga Ilich has been appointed by Robertson to co-chair the panel that he announced during his inaugural speech on December 5.
Robertson described Ilich as bringing a "wealth of experience" in real estate development and construction.
Ilich has served as the president of Suncor Development Corporation and the executive vice-president of Progressive Construction Ltd, two real estate and development construction companies based in Richmond, as well as the president of the Urban Development Institute.
“The thoughtful, pragmatic approach she brought to being a cabinet minister will be a big asset as this task force grapples with the challenges and new ideas related to affordable housing in Vancouver,” said Robertson in a news release.
Ilich was elected as the MLA for Richmond Centre from 2005 to 2009 and served in the cabinet of the B.C. Liberal government, as minister of tourism, sport and the arts, as well as labour and citizen services. According to her B.C. Legislative Assembly bio, she has previously served as the chair of the B.C. Assessment Authority, Director of the Vancouver International Airport Authority, and as a member of the City of Surrey Development Advisory Committee, among other organizations.
The creation of the task force is coming to Vancouver city council in a motion on Tuesday (December 13), to be introduced by the mayor. The members of the housing affordability panel will be selected by co-chairs Ilich and Robertson based on submissions received by the City Clerk’s office by January 6, 2012.
The proposed terms of reference for the task force include: examining the conditions that exist in Vancouver that create unaffordable housing; renewing all City of Vancouver land and capital assets to identify new opportunities for affordable housing; reviewing innovations from other cities in financial and equity models that could facilitate the creation of affordable housing; examining tax models, such as Tax Increment Equivalency Grants (TIEG),that could facilitate affordable housing development; and soliciting public and stakeholder input on meeting the affordable housing challenge.
According to city documents, the co-chairs will be seeking experts for the panel in the areas of finance, real estate, market development, architecture and design, academia, federal and provincial policy, non-market housing development, and land use planning.
The panel will provide an interim report to mayor and council by March 12, 2012. After public input on the report from March to May, a final report will be completed by June 20, 2012.