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Next steps proposed for renewal of co-op leases

Discussion paper outlines potential scenarios for co-ops on City-owned land

Over the last 40 years, co-ops on City-owned land have provided a vital source of affordable housing and I am committed to not only preserving the existing co-ops but expanding on them with the help of the federal government.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart

January 28 2020 –

The City is asking for input on proposed scenarios to help secure the future of one of Vancouver’s most popular forms of housing.

There are fifty-seven co-ops on City land in Vancouver, providing more than 3,700 affordable homes, but several land leases are set to expire over the next decade and the next steps need to be determined.

After over a year of discussions with some co-ops regarding their leases, the City has developed a paper that proposes four different lease renewal scenarios to address some of the key concerns expressed by co-ops, while still optimising the delivery of affordable housing on public land and providing stability to existing residents.

Speaking about the discussion paper, Mayor Kennedy Stewart said: “Over the last 40 years, co-ops on City-owned land have provided a vital source of affordable housing and I am committed to not only preserving the existing co-ops but expanding on them with the help of the federal government.

The discussion paper that has launched today is a key next step in working with the co-op boards and their members to find an equitable way to renew the leases which will both benefit current residents and insure that a new generation of Vancouverites can benefit from the co-op model, the Mayor added.

Tell us what you think

The discussion paper invites people to share their feedback on four scenarios:

  • Basic renewal: A co-op pays the City a ground rent linked to Vancouver incomes on an annual basis with limited reporting requirements. 
  • Renewal with additional grant: Similar to the basic renewal scenario but the co-op provides more in-depth reporting to the City regarding income levels and receives an additional grant to ensure affordability for co-op members with demonstrated need. 
  • Redevelopment: The City has a strong interest in working with co-op housing partners to increase the number of co-op homes on City-land. In certain circumstances – including the poor building conditions / unused development potential – the City will determine whether there may be an opportunity to work with an individual co-op to explore potential redevelopment of the site.
  • End of lease: As a last resort and the City’s least preferred scenario, a co-op may opt not to renew its lease. Should this be the option pursued by the co-op, the City will work with that co-op to protect its members and work to identify a new building operator as quickly as possible.

The lease scenarios aim to maximize City land, while also ensuring that residents have the ability to keep living in their homes and not paying more than 30 per cent of their income on housing costs.

Explaining the City’s approach, Sandra Singh, General Manager of Arts, Culture and Community Services, said: “The lack of affordable housing in our city continues to be a critical challenge and the scenarios proposed would allow the City to both protect existing homes and generate funding for more stable, high quality and affordable units for people in need. 

We know any discussions related to our homes can be unsettling and we want to assure co-op members that we are committed to protecting co-op members throughout the lease renewal process, and ensuring that City-owned land is used in a way that helps as many people as possible.”

Residents of co-ops, anyone who might one to live in one in the future, and those who are interested in how the City is using public land to support affordable housing are encouraged to read the discussion paper and provide feedback via an online survey by March 24. City staff are also seeking to meet with co-op Boards to discuss the scenarios in person.

The feedback will be summarized by staff and presented as part of the City’s recommendations to Council in a report layer this summer. 

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