Update April 5, 2017
I haven’t had as much time for blogging as circumstances warrant lately, but I’d be truly remiss if I didn’t add links to this post from Bob Mackin and the Breaker News, as well as new information that at least one of these real estate deals involving BCHousing is the subject of an RCMP investigation…Click the following:
Thanks to the work of Glen Chernen and the SouthVan Parks Society, we learn (only now) from the Vancouver Sun that the RCMP has been looking at this file since October 2016. http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/rcmp-federal-unit-investigating-controversial-vancouver-land-swap
While an implication is safe from the fact no Special Prosecutor has been requested… (Coleman would seem to be in the clear)…the Minister of Housing’s Strange Behaviour when questioned makes more sense now..
The opposition NDP has been questioning land deals connected to the agency meant to support expansion of low income housing in BC, and whether high flying developer donors have been allowed to use BCHousing as a loan slush fund (my term). Much more investigation is needed. I’ll link at the end of this post to three articles from Jen St. Denis and MetroNews Vancouver. I urge you to read them.
This matters because Rich Coleman has behaved very strangely.. When questions arose in the Legislature, he blustered and bragged about the government record in expanding affordable housing. He said David Eby had his facts wrong. He promised documentation proving the deals involving Wall Financial Corp, Brenhill developments and market condo pre-sale specialist Bob Rennie actually enhanced the stock of low income housing…
$80 million loaned to these companies. $80 million not reported in response to an opposition Freedom of Information Request. And as far as I can tell, there’s been no demonstrated increase in low income housing stock beyond what would have occurred if the developers had proceeded under existing Vancouver zoning laws without provincial help.
Coleman promised documents within a week…it actually took nearly two weeks, during which the Legislature shut down early without passing a number of priority bills. When documents came, they were provided to “some reporters” at a “not for attribution technical briefing” by BCHousing. Nobody at BC Housing would go on record…Coleman did not attend.
Coleman has been Minister of Housing for 15 odd years, carrying the file with him wherever he goes.
Add up what we know…Add the BC Auditor General’s report (find it in the linked articles) which says value for money has not been adequately guaranteed when BCH gets involved in low income housing financing and sales..And this stinks
It stinks enough for many more questions to be asked to find all the facts. We don’t have enough information on the table to be sure how dirty or clean these deals are, and for $80 million public dollars, we should have it all laid out , in court if necessary.
Read and share: I say share because I think people overestimate the reach of both small bloggers asking questions and a small news outlet like MetroNews. This should be an election issue.. Coleman should be asked to back up his statements at every debate and presser. And all the documents (not a selection) should be released to the NDP rather than “a few journalists” at a very strange meeting.
Disclaimer: This post is not meant to imply specific wrongdoing by any individual or entity. It’s meant to further the ends of public accountability regarding public dollars in large amounts. If anyone has facts to add, send links and I will update or provide a new post to include those.