How are First Nations and YIMBYs changing the game in Vancouver? Local housing activists/spokespersons told ‘YIMBYtown Conference’ (Portland) on April 12, 2022

YIMBYtown event logo

Epilogue: Watch their presentation and discussion on YouTube here. How First Nations and YIMBYs are changing the game in Vancouver, BC – Recording Link. Event starts at about the eight minute mark. In it, Danny Oleksiuk (Abundant Housing Vancouver) and Khelsilem (chief councilor of Squamish Nation) reveal how they flipped the OneCity party’s narrative away from neighbourhood-based planning to instead buy the developers’ supply-side narrative. There is mention of being successful in having B.C housing minister (then David Eby, now slated to replace outgoing NDP premier John Horgan be anointed as premier of British Columbia in the fall of 2022.) actually being a mouthpiece for what they are trying to accomplish. Info on construction plans for Sen̓áḵw and Jericho Lands, mention of CVN, OneCity, fighting “NIMBYs,”and lobbying activities. The basic narrative is that NIMBYs are the problem and YIMBYs have the solutions. Whether or not you agree with what they say, and whether or not their theories of creating affordable housing work, this material is important to understand the underlying schemes and alliances of various actors in Vancouver. It is highly unlikely they would present this same content to a public audience in Vancouver. (Related: See Vancouver must stop allowing the development community to set the agenda, Elizabeth Murphy, Vancouver Sun, 14-Dec-2018, which mentions how the development industry brought the YIMBY / AHV groups to Vancouver, modeled on the San Francisco based Bay Area Renters Federation, or BARF).

In the YouTube video, times are approximate:
00:00:00 – up to 7 minutes – title screen
00:07:00 – Introductions
00:11:00 – Danny Oleksuik begins (Abundant Housing Vancouver, AHV)
00:30:00 – Khelsilem begins (Squamish First Nation)
00:59:00 – Mention of flipping OneCity from endorsing neighbourhood-based Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhood principles and to instead support the developer-oriented supply-side AHV narrative.
01:03:00 – Mention of OneCity’s political strategy. (Relevant for civic election Oct 2022)
01:05:55 – Moderator is intrigued by AHV/Squamish First Nation using the strategy of building “a NIMBY nightmare” (Massive buildings explicitly for profit/market rents, then putting that profit into benefiting the citizens of your nation. Upending notions of good housing ethical notions of what good housing is.)
01:11:55 – Oleksiuk – Strategy for countering NIMBYs

The original post follows.


If anyone happens to be in the Portland area next week, there’s a chance to see the approaches of the U.S.-born YIMBY movement, which has migrated to Vancouver over the past few years and has a growing influence on local politics and land-use decisions in British Columbia.

In fact, presenting to the “YIMBYtown 2022” conference (programme here – at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon (April 11-13, 2022) will be to two Vancouver (BC) locals, Danny OIeksiuk (Abundant Housing Vancouver) and Khelsilem (chief councilor of Squamish Nation).

Excerpt for Tuesday, April 12:
3:15pm-4:15pm: Breakout sessions
How First Nations and YIMBYs are changing the game in Vancouver, BC
Danny Oleksiuk, Abundant Housing Vancouver
Khelsilem, chief councilor of Squamish Nation

(CityHallWatch has written to invite them to present the same content here in Vancouver in a public presentation for the general public, any time they are willing, as it’s a topic many people would probably be interested in learning more about.)

Many of the themes and strategies of the American “yes-in-my-back-yard” movement have been imported into Vancouver (BC), so it would do local residents and communities well to understand the U.S. movement today, and also consider how it is being expressed in Canada. What are the similarities and differences? Is the U.S. version as closely aligned with large privately-held developers and the development/construction industry/lobbyists as in the case of Vancouver? Does the movement there take a more dialogue-oriented approach about housing policy? Or do they revert to confrontational NIMBY/YIMBY labelling? (It is encouraging to notice that the Portland agenda does not, it seems.)

Some of the other featured speakers include Alan Durning, Michael Andersen, Jeannette Lee, Kate Macfarlane, Dan Bertolet, Anna Fahey, Steph Routh (Sightline Institute), event hosts Aaron Brown and Steph Routh (YIMBYtown co-mayors), and many more.

Some of the topics covered include:

• What do Housing Providers Have to Say About Zoning Reform and City Policies?
• Inclusionary Housing: A dial, not a switch
• Cultivating Business Leadership for Abundant and Equitable Housing
• More Trees for More Neighbors
• Housing Abundance Requires Abundant Transportation
• What’s Happening in the Federal Government?
• You’re a YIMBY? Great, Why Aren’t You a Small Developer Yet?
• The Future of Historic Preservation
• Equitable Schools Demand Equitable Neighborhoods
• Developers Sound Off: Successes, Challenges and Opportunities to Build All This Dang Housing
• Keeping Our Neighbors Housed
• Fighting the Freeway Industrial Complex and What It Means for Housing
• Building Healthy Organizations and Sustainable Movements
• What Does It Take To Pass Statewide Zoning Reform?
• Gender, Sexuality and Abundant Housing
• From highways to homes: The opportunity to reconnect communities divided by freeways
• Showing up for All Our Neighbors: YIMBY and Houselessness
• Telling Stories and Building Narrative in a Distracted World
• Celebrating and Dissecting Municipal Victories for Abundant Housing
• Social Housing In Our Backyards
• Political Leadership for Abundant Housing
• Parking Reform: From theory to practice
• Turning Environmentalists into Housing Advocates
• West Coast Case Studies: Advocacy for and Implementation of Legislation for Regional Housing Needs
• Abundant Housing Requires Abundant Democracy
• How First Nations and YIMBYs are changing the game in Vancouver, BC
• Community Land Trusts In Our Backyards
• The Present and Future of ADUs and Other Homes In Our Backyards
• What Happened in the Washington State Legislature This Year?

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