Setting the Record Straight
2018 June 21
June 21, 2018
Dear Friends –
The past 48 hours have been emotional ones for the entire Kettle Boffo family. We have been overwhelmed with calls, emails, tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram comments that share our disappointment and offer kind words of support. We are so grateful to be part of a community that cared so much about our project and was as invested in its success as we were. We cannot say thank you enough.
This outpouring of support has also reminded our team of just how important it is for changes to take place so that projects similar to ours can actually succeed in the future. We will be directing our shared energies – as development partners yesterday, and close friends today – towards sharing what we have learned with other non-profit organizations and real estate developers who share our commitment to community, inclusivity and the Grandview Woodlands neighborhood
Setting the record straight
For all the expressions of support we have received, we have also heard comments from critics of our decision. We thought it was important to reach out to you, our supporters, to set the record straight.
Our main reason for deciding not to proceed with our project was that the City of Vancouver required, in addition to Community Amenity Contributions (CAC) that included 30 units of supportive housing, a new 12,000 square foot Kettle Drop-In Centre, over $2 million in transitional costs to maintain Kettle’s operations during construction, and more – an additional cash community amenity contribution of between $6 and $16 million. The additional cost rendered the project financially unviable and, for this reason, we were unable to proceed.
In responding to our decision, the City of Vancouver said that a rezoning application was necessary for negotiations on CACs to begin. However, it is important to note that following five years of pre-application work alongside the Grandview Woodland community planning process, we also participated in the City’s standard rigorous rezoning pre-application process for nearly two years. In this process, the City reviews everything from urban design to view corridors, programming requirements to delivery of community amenities, and more.
As part of this process, our partnership submitted a formal Letter of Enquiry package, participated in dozens of meetings, a cross-departmental review of our March 1, 2017 draft rezoning application package, multiple pro forma (project financial plan) reviews, and advanced negotiations on CACs. These meetings and activities are all a matter of public record.
It was during these negotiations that it became clear that the City would not consider a rezoning without an additional multi-million cash CAC contribution, one that rendered the project financially unviable. The rationale for submitting a rezoning application under these circumstances simply was not there.
The City of Vancouver also asserted in its statement on our decision that it offered us “up to $12 million in grants to allow Kettle to own the Welcome Centre and affordable housing,” and that these grants would have been deducted from Boffo’s required CAC contribution. This is not accurate. The partnership was not offered $12 million in municipal grants.
We thought it was important to set the record straight on these issues.
Now, our goal is to open up and encourage a conversation in Vancouver about the barriers that stand in the way of innovative partnerships like ours from becoming a reality. Our hope is that the City of Vancouver will join us in this conversation, and work with us and other projects in the city on solutions to help address Vancouver’s ongoing housing crisis – particularly for our most vulnerable citizens.
Nancy Keough and Daniel Boffo