Around the region, a new generation of civic leaders is emerging – councillors like Nathan Pachal in Langley, Patrick Johnstone in New West, Matthew Bond and Jordan Back in North Vancouver District, Tony Valente in North Van City – GenXers and first of the Millenniums.
.
Like Dylan Kruger – at 23, the youngest councillor to be elected in the history of Delta.
.
.
These newcomers do not all fall on one part of the ideological spectrum, but they do share a common generational perspective.  As described by Dylan in his notes on a divisive rezoning this week:
.
It is not sustainable in the long run, to see a vast exodus of folks in their 20s and 30s (from Delta). We cannot have an exclusionary community based on income, any more than we can have a community segregated by age. Delta needs to be what it has always been – a place where everyone is welcome, and where there are housing options for you, regardless of what the numbers are on your birth certificate or your income tax return.
.
The proposal in question was for a 35-storey high-rise on Scott Road and 75A, which included an affordable housing component that would see 70 units (20%) offered under the Affordable Home Ownership Program in partnership with BC Housing. 
.
Cllr Dylan Kruger voted in favour, along with Mayor Harvie, but the rest of council voted against and the proposal, after a contentious public hearing, decisively lost.  Knowing this was a critical vote, Kruger took the opportunity to write out his position.   Here is an abridged version (the full text can be found here).
.
.
A Vote for Delta’s Future
.
I think this is a well-put together application. The building is aesthetically pleasing, and would certainly be a Delta landmark if approved. The unit mix is appropriate for the desired market, which is first time home owners, young professionals, young families and seniors looking to downsize. …

I am really excited about the BC Housing component of this application. By focusing specifically on assisting middle income earners who could probably afford monthly payments but need a bit of help with the mortgage, we are helping to make the dream of home ownership attainable for an entire generation that has been shut out of the housing market.
.
Further, first time buyers who take advantage of this program will free up critical rental supply in our community, providing more rental spaces for those who need them the most. The rental vacancy rate in our community is less than 1%, so any action that frees up desperately needed rental is a positive for me.
.
TRAFFIC
.
On traffic, I have heard that people don’t believe the traffic study. It is really important to me that we have conversations based on facts, and not anecdotes or hearsay. … Time and time again, when projects are built, the impact is less than what is assumed in the study.
For example, a traffic study was conducted for the Delta Rise both before and after construction.  …. after the Rise was built, peak AM traffic volumes on Scott and 80th were actually 28% lower than projected.
.
Further, the study for 75A is looking at traffic patterns under existing transit conditions. It doesn’t even begin to take into consideration the effect the new B-line will have on traffic patterns in North Delta.
.
Over the long run, building higher density housing projects along frequent transit corridors will reduce congestion. This is what we need to do – build housing along Scott Road to help more people take public transit to and from work. To allow people to walk to the grocery store and the doctor, and all other forms of shops and services they require.
.
.
ENVIRONMENT AND LAND USE
.
I was so proud that this council voted unanimously to take bold steps to address climate change last month. In many ways, the 20th century suburban mentality was detrimental to our planet’s health. The old adage was that everybody gets space – a big house with a white picket fence and a big back yard. In order to have space, you need land. And so we started land use planning.
.
We put all of the residences on one side of town and all of the retail, shops, and services on the other. So whatever you do, whether you need to run to the store, go to the post office, go to the doctor, or go out for dinner, you need to get into your car. …
.
To aid in the transition to a green economy … we need to densify. In Delta, we know that this needs to take place on Scott Road, our busiest transit corridor, in close proximity to shops and services.
.
My wife and I live in a 700 square foot condo. I also have a few friends who live in the Delta Rise, and other highrise projects across Metro Vancouver. This amazing thing happens when you put people together. They talk to each other. Instead of retreating into the privacy of a back yard we don’t have, we socialize with our neighbours in our common areas. Instead of taking up space at the public recreation centres, we use our strata gym and fitness space. When we need to go outside, we walk out the door and we are steps away from every possible public amenity, shop or service we could need. Unfortunately I still need to use a car to get to work every day because it’s not accessible by bus. I hope that changes one day. But condo living has freed me from the need to get into a car on a Thursday night because I need milk, or on Saturday morning to go to the bank.
.
.
HOUSING
.
On project location and neighbourhood impact, I have grappled with this because I understand how hard change is. Our neighbourhoods today look nothing like they did 50 years ago. And 50 years from now, they will look nothing like they do today. We are averse to change, and homeowners certainly have a stake in keeping the status quo, because the status quo is what worked for them. But there is a large and growing number of people for which the status quo is not working.
.
From Surrey Now-Leader.  More on public hearing here.
.
This is a question of equity that councils must consider when making big decisions like this. I have to ask myself, who are we excluding from our existing neighbourhoods? The fact is, only 11% of our city is zoned for multi-family living. That means only 11% of our city is eligible for a BC Housing project. Only 11% of our city is even hypothetically open to our most vulnerable.
.
The last purpose built rental housing in North Delta was built in 1970 – almost 50 years ago. Just last week, Goodman came out with a report showing that out of 15 suburban communities in Metro Vancouver, Delta was the only one that didn’t have either a completed rental project or one in the pipeline for 2019.
.
This project, if it passes, will provide homes for many first time buyers. And yes, there will absolutely be some investors. That’s not a bad word. That means dozens of these units will be opened up to the secondary rental market, providing desperately needed rentals on a transit corridor and within walking distance to everything one could need in Delta.
.
Some speakers have mentioned that nobody has the right or privilege to live anywhere. I agree. We all need to work hard, pay our dues, rent, and save our money. I had to do that. For a lot of people this means moving further away from home for a time. That’s part of life.
But one piece that has been missing in this discussion is the social benefit to a city of having younger people, families, and seniors living together. …
.
I’m going to vote to give 70 first time buyers the opportunity to stay in Delta and put roots in our community – just like we were able to do. I’m voting to help 335 young professionals, families, and seniors get into safe housing, in a livable, walkable neighbourhood, in a great city.
I’m voting yes.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *