You can tell it’s an election year by the flurry of reports on the City of Vancouver council agenda next week, as the civic leadership tries to tuck in their New Housing Plan, and also plans to refer the first two potential rezonings of the North East False Creek work to public hearing.
Globe and Mail writer and seasoned civic watcher Frances Bula quickly hits the main highlights of the proposed housing plan, which will “allow duplexes automatically as a choice in most of the city’s single-family neighbourhoods, as well as aiming to ensure that two-thirds of a hoped-for 72,000 homes built in the next 10 years are rentals.”
Of course, immediately allowing duplex zoning in single family neighbourhoods will require staff to explain why this change is being prescribed without citizen input, and will require staff resources to explain, process and implement.
The city will allocate approximately $2.5 billion of city land to affordable housing, with a goal that 50 per cent of the 72,000 homes built in the next ten years will be geared to households with incomes below $80,000. Monies collected from developer-provided community amenity contributions (CACs) and the Empty Homes Tax will also be directed towards affordable housing.
The City estimates it will take “about $5-billion in land and cash to create 12,000 social and supportive housing units as part of the 10-year program.”
And here’s a sobering thought~even though the city approved 7,131 new homes last year, as Bula notes, only 800 of them were designated as rental apartments.
As the city’s report states, “The share of renter households earning below $30,000/year fell from 34% in 2005 to 28% in 2015, while the share of renter households earning over $80,000/year increased from 13% to 28% in the same period. While rising median incomes may account for some of this change, these trends indicate a risk to the long-term diversity and resilience of our City – reinforcing the need to meet the Housing Vancouver objective to ensure the “right supply” of housing that meets the needs of all incomes.”
The City of Vancouver has set up some measurement objectives for the success of their program, hoping that in ten years rental vacancy rates will rise to 3 per cent, the home ownership and rental market will have stabilized, and that 33 per cent of all households have children.
You can read the full housing report here.