Comment 33876

By highwater (registered) | Posted September 18, 2009 at 12:41:36

Vranchoir wrote:

Don't get sidetracked.

As interesting/awful as the corollary stories are, the point remains that this iconic building is NOT the right site for affordable housing. If the discussion becomes how 'evil' the proponents are, you will be accused of not liking the project because of who is proposing it, rather than the merits.

I beg to differ. I was at the council meeting and Joanne Priel was asked what the criteria were for assessing the proposals, and one of the criteria was the reputation and track record of the developers behind each proposal, so it is absolutely a factor in deciding the merits of the proposal. In fact, I would argue that this proposal should be fought based mainly on the behaviour of the developers in question. New facts about the developers have become public since the city's priority list was set that call the whole RFP process into question. I think this should be fought based on the discredited process. If we argue about the merits of affordable housing, it's too easy to be labelled anti-poor.

I'm not letting council off the hook, but staff bear the brunt of the blame for this. They were fully aware of the tax arrears and the Valeri law suit when they approved this proposal, yet they chose to keep that info from council. They are the ones who politicized this when they made that choice, AFAIC. Council shouldn't have been so afraid to undo the damage.

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