rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

2010 Olympic tenancy protections don't exist

Next month, the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre, the BC Apartment Owners and Managers Association, the City of Vancouver and the provincial Residential Tenancy Branch will launch a campaign to bring public awareness  to tenant and landlord rights and obligations prior to the 2010 Olympics.

Though these organizations should be applauded for taking the initiative to raise awareness of these issues, the information campaign fails to take in to account the extent of the market distortion in the months leading up to February 2010.  The existing public policy framework allows loopholes such as renovations to be used to evict tenants.  Without financial penalties in place and a more advanced public policy framework to protect tenants, an information campaign will simply reinforce the status quo -- an environment where evictions in rental buildings happen on a regular basis in the West End, Commercial Drive and the Downtown Eastside.  There have already been over 1,300 units of SRO housing converted in the inner-city since the Olympics were awarded to Vancouver.

The failure of policy makers both at the bureaucratic and political level to identify the right prescription for this policy challenge is incredibly disappointing.  These concerns were raised as early as August of 2001 during the early stages of the Olympic bid.

Promises of a social housing legacy at the Athletes Village are being eroded.  Evictions continue to take place on a monthly basis.  There has been a lack of resources provided to civil society organizations to engage residents in the inner-city.  It has  been a top-down approach from the very beginning.

The establishment of a funded watchdog group also has not taken place. 

Now that the City of Vancouver has taken over the financing of the Olympic Village project after buying out financier Fortress Credit Corporation at a cost of almost $319.5 million.  Another $690 is still needed to complete the project.

If the rising costs of the diminished social housing legacy are now on the chopping block, without the help of senior levels of government, we will have seen an unprecedented level of incompetence -- publicly subsidized 'market rate' condominiums as Vancouver's Olympic legacy.  Truthfully, you can't make something up as ludicrous as this.  It might just tell us everything we need to know about the 2010 Olympics and the people behind them.

Last year, the Impact on Communities Coalition called for a $1 surcharge on Olympic tickets and merchandising that would be matched by the provincial and federal governments to fund a social legacy for the 2010 Olympics -- unfortunately, that proposal too fell on deaf ears.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.