Message to Supporters
2018 June 19
June 19, 2018
Dear Kettle Boffo Project supporter –
It is with a heavy heart that The Kettle Society and Boffo Properties share some very sad news with you today. Boffo and The Kettle have decided that we will not be moving forward with our proposed project at Commercial and Venables.
The reason for our decision is simple. Given the recent financial requirements placed on it by the City of Vancouver, the project is no longer economically feasible.
As you know, The Kettle and Boffo had proposed the construction of 30 homes of supportive housing for people in our community with mental illness and other barriers, along with an expanded space for The Kettle’s many drop-in services and programs in Grandview Woodland. The renewal of The Kettle Centre at Venables was to be financed by the construction of up to 200 units of market housing and 18,000 square feet of retail space.
In our proposal, The Kettle would have retained ownership of its property in the redeveloped site. Boffo had also planned to work with The Kettle to ensure that it could continue to provide its current community services uninterrupted during construction. The renewal of our Drop-In Centre would have allowed a safe, inclusive and modern facility to serve our more than 5,000 clients.
However, after seven years of community outreach and engagement, and constructive collaboration with City planning staff on a range of options over the years, we were unable to agree with the City on a path forward.
The Kettle worked hand-in-hand with Boffo on this redevelopment proposal, which had allowed for both the redevelopment of The Kettle and 30 homes of supportive housing at no cost to taxpayers. However, in addition to these and other benefits from the partnership to the community and the City – valued at over $39 million – the City of Vancouver required an additional cash community amenity contribution (CAC) from Boffo of between $6 and $16 million. The additional cost rendered the project financially unviable, and for this reason, we are unable to proceed.
After seven years of an incredible partnership between Boffo and The Kettle; thousands of pledges, letters and other public expressions of support for our project from people like you; and, the support of over 15 non-profit housing and community organizations, we are devastated that our shared vision for a more inclusive community cannot become a reality.
The Kettle Boffo partnership – one that makes it possible to create both additional market and supportive housing in an inclusive community form – is an example of the type of innovative partnerships that have been approved before and that is encouraged by the City’s new Housing Strategy between developer and non-profit partners. These are the kind of approaches our city needs now more than ever to address the critical shortage of housing across the housing continuum, and the deficit in mental health services needed in our community.
Vancouver City Council has made a commitment to a housing policy that nurtures a more compassionate, diverse, and inclusive community where neighbours care for and about each other. And yet, in practice, the City was unable to make our project – one that enjoys both Council and community support – work. It is our sincere hope that the City can find a new approach to ensure innovative partnerships like ours can move forward in the future.
It is now time to move on. The Kettle will, as we have for over 40 years, continue work tirelessly and advocate for the supports our community so desperately needs.
To you, our supporters, we would like to thank you for every letter, tweet, Facebook and Instagram post, online pledge and public statement you made in support of our project. The love we felt from the community – and your support for a more inclusive community – has meant the world to us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Nancy Keough and Daniel Boffo