Governance & Politics
December 5, 2018

Civic Savvy: The Import of Unanimity

The first major motion has passed Vancouver City Council – unanimously!

 

A unanimous vote on an ideological issue is a significant indicator – and Jean Swanson’s motion on renter protection was the first big test for the new council.  The way amendments and process were so skillfully handled among the various parties and interests suggests effective communication and negotiation.  (How much of that, I wonder, was done by the Mayor’s office?)

I would not underestimate the emotional impact of the more than 50 delegations organized effectively by the year-old Vancouver Tenants Union who, hour after hour, over two days, told personal stories of their experiences and anxieties.  Regardless of where any individual councillor stands politically, the emotional effect is substantial.  It wears away intellectual resistance, leaving the need to respond in some way.

Jean Swanson called the amended motion mush.  But the Tenants Union, having achieved a recognition of legitimacy, recognized it as a victory, regardless of the fact that not much actual protection is afforded those subject to a determined renovictor.

In the end, the NPA aligned itself with a vote on an issue coming from the far left; the amendments they supported came from the parties of the near left.  The result is a solid wall of political support for intervention in the rental housing market – another indicator of how much this election has changed the status quo.

What will property and development interests do in the face of this? Watch Jon Stovell and Berkeley Tower.

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August 7, 2017

Found on the corner of Abbott St and W Hastings St, in a parking lot adjacent to the Woodward’s development.

The proposed rezoning details are reflective of Vancouver’s Rental 100 Policy:

  • 132 units of secured market rental housing
  • commercial space on the ground floor
  • a floor space ratio of 7.62
  • 74 vehicle parking spaces
  • 167 bicycle parking spaces
  • a building height of 32m

The policy provides relaxations to developers who choose to build 100% secured market rental housing in defined locations. This incentive forms part of the City’s  2012-2021 Housing and Homelessness Strategy, which “identified the need for an additional 16,000 new units of rental housing, of which 5,000 are from purpose-built market rental units.”
In addition, the Strategy “sets aggressive targets for social housing (5,000 units by 2021) and supportive housing to end homelessness (2,900 units by 2021). The City is currently revising the Housing Strategy, noting targets exceeding those set in the current plan.
The Rental 100 Policy and it’s predecessor have been contentious – as illustrated by the court battle between the City and the West End Neighbours Residents Society. There is an open house for the West Hastings Rezoning from 5 to 8 pm on Thursday, January 26, 2017 at Vancouver Community College, Room 240.

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