Province and VANOC partner to house the homeless in BC

    VANCOUVER, Oct. 21 /CNW/ - An agreement between the Province of British
Columbia and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and
Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) will create up to 156 units of permanent
affordable housing for people most in need across B.C., Premier Gordon
Campbell announced today.
    "Through Olympic Legacy Affordable Housing, we will provide affordable
supportive housing to help break the cycle of homelessness in communities
across our province," said Premier Campbell. "This agreement builds on the
progress of the Housing Matters BC provincial housing strategy and helps meet
the critical goal of sheltering the homeless and providing support services to
those most in need."
    Almost two years in the making, this agreement is made possible from the
participation of a number of government and corporate partners. A Memorandum
of Understanding (MOU) between the Province and VANOC proposes to reconfigure
320 temporary modular housing units from the Olympic and Paralympic Village at
Whistler and relocate and convert them as 156 permanent, affordable housing
units to six communities across the province: Chetwynd, Chilliwack, Enderby,
Saanich, Sechelt and Surrey.
    "We are committed to increasing the supply of affordable, supportive
housing so that people have a stable base to improve their lives," said
Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman. "To accomplish this, we
need partnerships - with VANOC, with local governments and with community
organizations - to find innovative housing solutions."
    The total capital cost of the Legacy Project is approximately
$43.6 million. The initial construction of the temporary modular units at the
Olympic and Paralympics Village at Whistler will be approximately
$18.2 million, of which VANOC will provide $9.4 million with additional
support from RONA, Britco and other sponsors. The Province will contribute
over $20 million for the relocation, reconfiguration and site preparation
costs in the six communities. A total of $5.4 million in land value will be
contributed by Chetwynd, Saanich, Sechelt and Surrey and by the Province in
Chilliwack and Enderby.
    "We have an obligation to provide short-term athlete housing as well as a
mandate to ensure there are meaningful social, environmental and economic
legacies from the 2010 Winter Games," said John Furlong, chief executive
officer, VANOC. "We are pleased to be part of this solution to provide
permanent Olympic Legacy Affordable Housing as soon as possible after the
close of the 2010 Winter Games."
    Under this MOU, VANOC will design and construct the 320 temporary modular
housing units for use in Whistler, which are in addition to the 100-unit lodge
and 20-unit townhomes that will be permanent housing units at the Whistler
Athletes Centre in the Olympic and Paralympic Village. The Province will then
pay for the design, relocation, site work, and modifications of these
temporary modular units into legacy housing in the six communities.
    The specifications for the design will be agreed upon between the
Province, VANOC and local partners, and will ensure that the design and
construction achieve high sustainable standards to promote energy efficiency
and minimize any environmental impact. The Province, through BC Housing, will
also be issuing an invitation to non-profit housing societies to submit
proposals to manage and operate the developments that don't already have local
non-profit societies as partners.
    "These Games will provide many long-term benefits for the citizens of
British Columbia in the form of sporting venues and infrastructure," said René
Fasel, chair of the Vancouver 2010 Coordination Commission, International
Olympic Committee. "By leveraging the short-term housing needs for Games
athletes with a long-term solution, Vancouver 2010 and its partners have
developed a significant Games' legacy: providing affordable housing for people
who need it most."
    "The City of Surrey is pleased to partner with the Province and VANOC to
provide affordable housing with support services to our most vulnerable
citizens," said Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts. "This is another important project
that will allow Surrey to work towards eliminating homelessness in our city.
    VANOC's construction of temporary modular homes would not be possible
without support from two of its Games sponsors: National Partner RONA and
Official Supplier Britco.
    RONA is a company with a strong track record in supporting social
sustainability in Canada. As a National Partner for the 2010 Winter Games,
RONA will provide valuable construction items for the Olympic Legacy
Affordable Housing project, including dimensional lumber, plywood, carpet,
tile, and trusses.
    Britco Structures, the largest modular building manufacturer in the
Pacific Northwest with plants in Agassiz and Penticton, was awarded the
contract to design and build the housing for the Olympic and Paralympic
Village Whistler in January 2008.
    Britco's approach to building construction results in high-quality
modular permanent buildings that are suitable for long-term use. Britco
incorporates sustainable and environmentally-friendly construction techniques,
resulting in wall assembly that can perform to the highest industry standards
for energy efficiency, noise control and moisture protection.
    The modular units will be used by VANOC during the Games then relocated
to the six communities across B.C. and reconfigured to include a kitchen and
bathroom in each unit.
    Increasing affordable housing, reducing homelessness and helping those
who cannot help themselves is a key agenda for the Province of British
Columbia. Budget 2008 increased the amount the Province invests in affordable
housing and shelters to more than $400 million a year, more than three times
as much as in 2001.

    For more information on government services or to subscribe to the
Province's news feeds using RSS, visit the Province's website at

For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Bridgitte Anderson, Press
Secretary, Office of the Premier, (604) 307-7177; Susan Thom, Corporate
Communications, BC Housing, (604) 230-1301; Katie Green, Media Relations,
VANOC, (778) 328-6473; Joel Giebelhaus, Special Assistant to the Mayor, City
of Surrey, (604) 591-4192

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