OneCity Vancouver party promises allowing six-storey rental housing buildings everywhere

Sep 6 2022, 10:39 pm

Imagine six-storey purpose-built rental housing buildings constructed on Vancouver’s “Golden Mile” along Point Grey Road in Kitsilano and within the mansion areas of the West Point Grey and Shaughnessy neighbourhoods.

A proposed policy announced today under OneCity Vancouver party’s civic election campaign platform would allow six-storey rental housing buildings everywhere across Vancouver, along with ground-level retail and restaurant uses.

The same low-rise residential development policy would also allow four-storey condominium buildings everywhere, with land lift captured by the municipal government and redirected as public investments in affordable housing and community amenities and facilities. There would also be policy changes to encourage the inclusion of more two- and three-bedroom units for larger families.

Tenants in existing rental housing in the development sites would be offered protections through a right-of-return policy at a comparable unit at the same rate before redevelopment.

OneCity’s low-rise proposal would essentially be a city-wide expansion of Vancouver City Council’s six-storey rental building policy for major streets, approved in December 2021. This policy has since catalyzed a surge in proposals that fit under the framework.

“Making Vancouver liveable means making sure working people can afford to live here,” said incumbent OneCity councillor Christine Boyle in a statement.

“If we stay on the road we’re on, Vancouver will become a gated community for the rich, with working people priced out of the city and forced into long commutes. We cannot and will not let that happen. That’s why we’re stacking the deck for social, co-op and non-market housing. And we make no apologies for it.”

Currently, there are about 68,000 single-family lots across Vancouver, with 57% of the city zoned for single-detached homes.

Additionally, the OneCity housing platform would grant the municipal government’s Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency new powers of the right-of-first refusal to buy all land that comes onto the market for affordable housing projects.

Affordable housing projects by the municipal government and partners like non-profit housing societies and cooperatives would be allowed greater flexibility on height and other restrictions, which would improve the financial viability of such projects, including the ability to receive funding from the federal and provincial governments.

Furthermore, both market and non-market housing that meets requirements will be able to go through a streamlined municipal rezoning and permitting process. Instead of public hearings with City Council, the decisions on projects that already fulfill all requirements will be made a responsibility of City staff. This new regulatory framework will expedite the implementation of new additional housing supply and “end the political micromanagement of housing in Vancouver.”

OneCity has named four candidates for City Council, three candidates for the Vancouver Park Board, and five candidates for the Vancouver School Board.

The civic election is scheduled for October 15, 2022.

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