Starting on Tuesday July 10, and continuing every Tuesday night until September 25, there will be a food scraps collection spot in the Bird Plaza in the Olympic Village. Between 6 and 8 pm you can drop off containers of kitchen scraps for a suggested $2 donation, and they’ll be taken to a compost facility in Delta.
We hope to see you on Tuesday.
This drop spot is made possible by a grant from the Greenest City Neighbourhood Small Grants Program. More information on Food Scraps Drop Spot. If you want to help volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s been over a year since Emily and I moved into the Olympic Village. For the first 10 months, our home was was just another Vancouver apartment, in a highly politicized neighbourhood lacking retail and people.
But things have really changed in the past few months. The village has new life (with more people and more retail) and we’ve gotten to know many of our neighbours. Instead of living in a beautiful, but isolated area, it now feels like we’re part of a strong community.
Last month, I volunteered to organize a community garden on the rooftop of our building. It’s been hard work, but it’s great to see the results – a prospering garden full of flowers and vegetables, and more importantly (I think), over 20 neighbours who know each other a lot better now. Before the garden took root, I only knew one of our neighbours (and only her name). Now, I’ve lost the anonymity I once had in our building, with neighbours young and old stopping to talk to me in the hallways and on the street. It’s not an experience I’m used to in Vancouver, but it feels good.
In addition to the garden, I’ve gotten to know people living in neighbourhood through online networking. Technology is often criticized for isolating people, but in this case it has connected me to my neighbours. There’s a Facebook page for the area with an active community who’ve organized a potluck and quiz night.
It was great to meet other people in the village, and hear the same praise and complaints about our neighbourhood. The Olympic Village is home to a wide array of people – there are multi-million dollar condos, rental units, a co-op, and subsidized housing. And yet, we are all dealing with a growing neighbourhood, nearby construction, retail that is months behind schedule, and fancy heating systems that don’t work as expected. And yet, most of us feel lucky to live in such a beautiful neighbourhood.
I’ve also got to know some of my neighbours via Street Bank, a website that facilities sharing between neighbours. It’s a great idea. I haven’t borrowed anything yet, but I’ve lent out my drill and hand saw to neighbours.
In other community building news, Emily is in the midst of organizing a composting Food Scraps Drop Spot pickup for the Olympic Village. She’s busy recruiting volunteers and organizing the logistics.
Since we announced we were moving into the Olympic Village, a lot of people have asked me “do you know which athlete lived in your unit during the Olympics?” I sure do. Sexy German speed skater Anni Friesinger was the former occupant of our suite.
How do I know? I did some sleuthing and discovered that 122 Walter Hardwick was occupied by Team Germany during the Olympics. Most of the German medal winners were staying up at Whistler, but the hockey team, speed skaters, figure skaters, and curlers were all in Vancouver.
Now, I have no proof that Anni stayed in our unit, but until I find a name scratched into the wall or a stray hair that I can analyze for DNA, I’m going to just assume our unit was occupied by either Anni Friesinger or Andy Kapp, skip of the German curling team.
Photo by ygx
In all seriousness, I’m a bit surprised that more isn’t done to advertise the Olympic Village as the former home of Olympians. The two towers that were once full of Canadian athletes is now branded Canada House, but otherwise there aren’t any references left to the athletes who once resided in the units. Maybe it’s a privacy issue.
If anyone is trying to determine which athletes may have lived in a specific Olympic Village building, I’ve created this handy guide.
Continue reading Moving into Anni Friesinger’s Old Room in the Olympic Village
It’s official. We’re moving into the Olympic Village on May 1st. No, we didn’t win the lottery. We’re moving into one of the rental units. We’ll have a 2nd bedroom, so friends and family are invited to visit.
We had applied in January, but we were told we made too much money. At the time I was a bit peeved, and couldn’t believe there were enough people in Vancouver who made less then us that were willing to pay high-end rental prices. Turns out I was probably right, because the City has adjusted its requirements to allow people earning up to 6 times the rent to qualify.
For reference, here are the prices:
One bedroom: $1,501
Two bedroom: $1,902
Three bedroom: $2,096
Four bedroom: $2,368
And here is an application, if you want to be our neighbour. From what I understand, about half of the units are still available.
I’m looking forward to the move. I’ll miss the neighbourhood we’re currently in, it’s walking distance to lots of grocery stores and veggie restaurants, but we are only moving 8 blocks down the hill. The increase in rent will be hard to adjust to, but we can afford it. $1902 seems expensive compared to what we’re currently paying, but when Dan and I were living on Beach Avenue, we were paying $1750 a month (still the going rate), and the Olympic Village is 100 times better than our old place.
The biggest draws are it’s new, beautifully designed, and full of cutting-edge environmental features. We got to see the bike room on Monday. It was big but I was worried it might fill up once everyone moves in. Then we found another bike room next to it, and another, and another. I counted 6 large bike rooms. There’s a great big rooftop garden with composting – we’re excited to have barbeques there. Our unit will have a personal energy monitor that I can geek-out over. There’s also radiant heating, solar panels, rain-water dual-flush toilets, and energy-efficient appliances. Emily and I are both excited to live somewhere that reflects are green values.
And now that we’ll have a second bedroom, we are welcoming friends and family to come and stay with us. It’s an awesome location for exploring the city.
After two weeks, we finally heard back from Coho Management Services, the company renting out the market rental suites at the Olympic Village. Their response:
We have received your application and attachments. Unfortunately, your combined gross household income is above the upper limits set by the City of Vancouver. For this reason, we cannot offer you a suite.
Time to pop the champagne, we’re rich. Or at least too rich for the Olympic Village – land of of condos averaging $1 million. You could have fooled me. But according to the City’s guidelines, anyone wishing to rent at the Olympic Village cannot get paid more then 5 times the rent (pre-taxes).
I’m not sure how forcing people to spend at least 20% of their pre-tax income on housing helps the City meet its “affordable housing” goals. For Emily and I, a 2-bedroom unit would have been closer to 19%, but apparently the City thinks we should be paying more. Instead, we’ll stay in our current apartment and save over $800 a month.
Good luck trying to find enough people who make less then us to fork over $1900 a month for rent.
About one year ago Emily and I sent out dozens of applications to co-op housing throughout Vancouver. We were hoping that co-op housing would give us more stability and community then renting, but without having to pay Vancouver’s crazy housing prices. Even though Vancouver has a decent number of co-ops, they all have long waiting lists and rarely have vacancies. So far, we’ve had 2 interviews for co-ops, but none of them have worked out.
A few months ago the city decided that the social housing units at the Olympic Village would be managed by the Co-op Housing Federation. Some of the units are to be rented out at market rent, some at subsidized rates for low-income earners and people with disabilities, and some turned into Vancouver’s newest housing co-op. Emily and I were interested in the co-op, so we sent an email and were asked to come and check out the units on Saturday. The people running the program must be still figuring things out because they are only renting out the market and subsidized units right now – the co-op portion is still being worked out.
The Olympic Village is an impressive development. It feels like a showcase for the best in green design. Energy is recovered from sewage, rain water is used to flush toilets, there are solar panels on all of the green roofs, community gardens everywhere, LED lights, and even personal Energy Aware energy meters in every suite – which I’d love to try integrating into Pulse Energy. The only downside is that none of the units have dishwashers. As an energy saving measure, I can understand that, but I do love having a dishwasher.
After touring the units, Emily and I made a quick list of pros and cons comparing our current apartment to the Olympic Village. The Olympic Village offers a chance to live somewhere true to our high environmental standards, with an an extra bedroom for guests (and who wouldn’t want to visit us in the Olympic Village!), with a bigger kitchen, and extremely easy access to the Seawall. The downsides were the price ($1902 for a 2-bedroom – we barely pay half of that right now) and the neighbourhood. The rest of the Olympic Village is half-empty, million-dollar, luxury condos, surrounded by light-industrial. Compared to the abundance of grocery stores and vegetarian restaurants within a few blocks of our current home, it would be a real change.
In the end we decided to send in an application. I’m not sure if we’ll get in because they give preference to people who work in emergency services, public health, and education, and people who make less money. It is weird that for us spending $1902 on rent would be very expensive, and yet we’re at the upper cusp of the maximum income allowed to rent these units. It’s twisted, but if we made less we’d have a better chance of getting in.