Vancouver council approves new Fraser Street redevelopment with 121 rental homes

Jul 13 2019, 7:32 am

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More rental homes have been approved for Vancouver’s Fraser Street corridor, following another round of similar discussions and debates in council and amongst public speakers over market rental housing and building heights.

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On Thursday evening, Vancouver city council voted 7-3 in favour of Strand Development and Integra Architecture’s proposal at 3833 Fraser Street for a six-storey, mixed-use building with 121 market rental homes and nearly 11,000 sq. ft. of ground-level restaurant and retail space.

Those opposed to the proposal, which attracted neighbourhood angst, were councillors Jean Swanson, Colleen Hardwick, and Adriane Carr.

In his closing comments during the public hearing, Mayor Kennedy Stewart warned that the developer could easily turn the site to unaffordable duplexes based on existing zoning — a home type that he would not be able to afford himself.

“Those duplexes would sell for about $1.5 million each, and you’d need an income of over $300,000 to afford them plus a down payment of $300,000,” said Stewart,

“I’m a renter and as your mayor, I could not afford that. The mayor of Vancouver cannot afford the alternative to what is being proposed here, which I think is kind of insane.”

For councillor Christine Boyle, she said her support for the project was partially based on the fact that the redevelopment would not replace any existing rentals, and as a result there is no displacement of tenants.

“Of course, it won’t solve the housing crisis, but this project will help and that is the kind of conversation we need to be having as we’re looking at policy changes that we as a council can make to push the envelope even further,” said Boyle. “I don’t think that if we get ourselves in the right direction by rejecting policies along the way that provide security along the way.”

Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung also the urgency for more purpose-built rental housing, and highlighted this will be the first multi-family rental project with four-bedroom units. She also noted that the narrower and shallower commercial units being planned will allow for different type of tenants, including small businesses.

3811-3833 Fraser Street Vancouver

Site of 3811-3833 Fraser Street, Vancouver. (Integra Architecture / Strand Development)

3811-3833 Fraser Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of 3811-3833 Fraser Street, Vancouver. (Integra Architecture / Strand Development)

One prominent public speaker during the public hearing was former CTV Vancouver anchor Tamara Taggart, who is the Liberal Party of Canada candidate for the federal riding of Vancouver Kingsway.

Taggart was speaking in favour of the proposal, countering arguments of opposition made by federal NDP MP Don Davies earlier in the week.

“This council has the responsibility to meet the demands of our challenging housing needs. This project is an important part of providing housing for working class and middle class Vancouverites,” said Taggart.

“These 121 rental units will provide a place for 121 families. Even at the market rates proposed, these homes are more affordable to many than home ownership. People in this city need a range of housing options.”

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