As reported by Frances Bula in the Globe and Mail and as posted on the City of Vancouver website the City is finally developing a ten-year strategy to create thousands of new rental units in the city and to ensure these units are scaled to income with the hope of providing accommodation and lowering speculative building. You can view the report here which also includes four separate accompanying indexes. Yes we are also a year away from the next municipal election in Vancouver, one that could be challenging for the current council as housing affordability, accessibility and homelessness have increased to alarming levels.
As Ms. Bula observes “Ultimately, city planners say they want to see 72,000 new units of housing built in Vancouver in the next 10 years, but in specific categories.They have set targets of 24,000 purpose-built rentals, 12,000 social-housing or co-op units and 36,000 ownership units, which would include coach houses as well as condos. It is expected that about 12,000 of those purchased units would end up being rented out. About half the units in the plan are geared to households with less than $80,000 a year in income.”
Some of the concepts have already been debated including incentivizing development potential if 20 per cent of units in a building are accessible to citizens making low incomes. And there’s a proposal to permit homeowners in single family areas to build infill houses and add up to two units in older homes built over 75 years ago.
New ideas include constricting development speculation and demand by spelling out rental and subsidized housing requirements in areas with new neighbourhood plans. With the achievable market units already clearly outlined, developers “will be less likely to pay exorbitant amounts of money for land – something that happened in recent years along the Cambie corridor after it was rezoned for apartments to create density along the Canada Line.” Areas where this strategy will be implemented include the Broadway corridor and the three SkyTrain station precincts.
The City will change regulations to allow more than five people living in a house that are unrelated, and will create a “tenant-protection” manager at the City who will ensure that tenants are not evicted for renovations if those permits are not actually in place. This ten-year strategy is a game changer for the City of Vancouver which has been criticized for slow response on these important issues. The report is scheduled to go to Council next Tuesday the 28th of November. Staff has indicated that the actions contained in the report will be immediately acted upon if the report is approved on Tuesday.