Posted by Daniela Elza on Jul 08 2021

I have been busy reading up on co-ops and figuring out what the city is up to. After a decade of negotiating with co-ops and refusing to renew their leases, they now want to rush a report that was half baked, unclear, problematic, and not acceptable to co-ops.

I sent them my reciprocal survey in February in a parody response to their incompetent and meaningless survey, (thank you Tyee for publishing it). I also sent a letter to each of them then.

This week I had to write a new one. Click here for my open letter to council.

The report came out before a long weekend, with barely any time for people to be able to read or digest. I sent Council and Mayor the letter the day before council met for discussion and vote. Yesterday I spoke for 5 min in the hearings for the report. There were over 60 people signed up to speak. I did a shift from 9:30am to 5pm and spoke just before 5pm. I was # 17.

One thing I said before council yesterday is that it is perhaps because of the long co-op leases that co-ops have been protected from the city up till now. Now that the leases are expiring, they cannot wait to mess with co-ops. They are acting like they are either ignorant of what co-ops are, or they are actively trying to run them into the ground. (Or, they are so out of touch that they have completely forgotten they are not a corporation and have social responsibilities. Ok I did not say this last part). I suggested co-ops are an essential service and they should be treated as such. And it will do well by them not to even charge higher than what they charge them now. We know co-ops can pay that amount. Or be even more forward thinking and for those co-ops who have paid for the land after 30 – 40 years, like ours, to stop charging them all together. The land is paid for. Besides, it is not our land.

The problem with all the delay in signing of leases is causing co-ops financial and other kinds of hardship. So we have to hold them responsible and accountable for the damage this is causing.

I have another piece I am looking for a place to publish. It is longer, in the 4000 words range. Hopefully that will find a home too.

You can see I have been busy with finishing term, civic action, and working towards the preservation of the only affordable housing left in Vancouver. Also working on my book, for which I have reserved the bulk of this summer.

I was deeply moved to hear the community come together in defence of co-ops and dispel the myths that the city is circulating, or believing. They have outdated models, protocols, and policies, with no metric to calculate or account for the 1000s of volunteer professional hours that go into running co-ops. And they want to tie them to the market rent which has made the city unlivable.

The extraordinary times we live in will take extraordinary vision to solve. We need a new politics to live up to an extraordinary vision. The one we have right now does not work, and it looks like it will be hard to fix. Tonight Council meets. Keep your fingers crossed.

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