The city parcels, which are collectively worth $250 million, have been identified in the wake of the Liberals’ statements that social housing has become one of their main concerns for infrastructure outlay this year. The federal government has previously vowed to spend approximately $60 billion in new infrastructure over the next decade.
The municipal land offer was the largest ever made by Vancouver, and the locations are planned to be the cornerstones of a $500-million federal housing project creating up to 9,000 jobs, spread over five years.
Robertson, who would join 18 other mayors later this week in a pre-budget meeting with federal cabinet ministers in Ottawa, said that heightened construction in the city and its subsequent impact on the local and regional market can help with the national economy’s attempts to recover from its prolonged slump.
“Particularly with the economic wobble, we’ve looked at opportunities to create as many jobs as possible,” Robertson told The Globe and Mail.
“It is geared for putting people to work building affordable housing and responding to the government’s concerns on the economy,” Robertson added.
The 20 sites in Vancouver include new development areas like East Fraserlands, Downtown Eastside, and the north shore of False Creek. The city’s Affordable Housing Agency has already been in talks with contractors to construct 3,500 social housing units, with 500 of these slated to be built within the year.
Along with cheaper units for locals, the project will create versatile housing aimed at addressing the recent arrival of thousands of Syrian refugees in Canadian shores.
With the federal government just weeks away from the release of its first budget, Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson put up 20 locations as part of his bid to win a new tranche of funds for affordable housing.