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Media Release: Kitsilano Calls for Independent Review

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 Kitsilano Coalition requests independent review of operations, funding and costs, relating to permanent modular supportive housing, including estimated building cost of $64-million

Vancouver, B.C. (May 18, 2023) - An independent forensic audit of BC Housing operations and governance by Ernst & Young, details conflict of interest concerns and a lack of transparency and oversight in awarding contracts. Many of the same concerns in the EY Report were raised by the community opposed to the proposed rezoning for a modular tower of 129 single-occupancy units of low-barrier supportive housing at Arbutus & W. 7th/8th.

"Given the shocking revelations in these audits, including conflict of interest, financial mismanagement, and lack of governance surrounding the evaluation and awarding of contracts, the Kitsilano Coalition is calling for a comprehensive, independent review of the provincial government's handling of the Arbutus and W. 7th/8th site", stated Cheryl Grant, a spokesperson for Kitsilano Coalition.

After making a series of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests related to the Arbutus and W. 7th/8th site, Kitsilano Coalition published a July 11, 2022 Media Release highlighting many of the same concerns outlined in the audits of BC Housing.

The following concerns were highlighted:

  • Lack of information respecting the competitive selection process for Nomodic, the builder chosen to design and construct the project, and for the third-party housing operator, MPA Society.
  • Failure to provide analysis and comparison of traditional construction versus modular construction for high-rise tower costing $64-million1 with an operating cost of several million dollars per year.
  • Failure to acknowledge the location is unsuitable as the site is adjacent to a women’s recovery home, a 450-child elementary school, a daycare and toddler park.

Pertinent documents, including the Memorandum of Understanding between the City and BC Housing that underlies the project, were not disclosed during the public hearing process in June and July of 2022, contrary to a requirement that members of the public have the same information available to City Council during a hearing.

Shane Ramsay, the CEO of BC Housing, appeared in-person at the final day of the Public Hearing on July 26th, 2022, which was the first and only time in Ramsay’s 22-year tenure that he spoke at a public hearing. Rather than addressing the concerns of the public, he insulted the over 200 public speakers who spoke in opposition to the project and insisted that the $64-million project proceed as presented.

The information provided to date shows significant gaps in governance and evaluation of contracts intended to be awarded which is estimated to cost taxpayers over $100 million through the duration of this one building. The Kitsilano Coalition is calling for an investigation to ensure taxpayer dollars are being used appropriately and to the maximum benefit of those needing housing and the local community.

 About the Kitsilano Coalition

The Kitsilano Coalition is focused on promoting and protecting inclusionary housing. We believe that residents of neighbourhoods who are affected by policies and plans have the right to be heard. We support open and inclusive policymaking that is evidence-driven and accessible to citizens.


1: $64 Million -