I’m done with the Vancouver Plan’s false math! (CC #65: correcting the omissions in city staff’s math.) by Brian Palmquist

(City Conversation #65 was first published 19-July-2022)
(For a list of City Conversations by Brian Palmquist on CityHallWatch, please visit this page.) The Council Committee on the subject of the Vancouver Plan continues on Friday, July 22.


July 19, 2022—I’m tired of city staff ignoring my numbers at the city’s peril, so gloves off.

“One speaker (Brian Palmquist) said there’s enough zoning applications in our pipeline for 250,000 homes; enough to satisfy the need?”—question from a Councillor to staff

“No. There are approximately 51,000 units in the current pipeline that are projected to be constructed by 2031.”—Answer by city staff.

Actually I said 250,000 people, not homes, but I won’t quibble.

The above sentences are from the proposed amendments and answers to questions by Councillors leading up to the final discussions before Council votes on the Vancouver Plan on July 22nd. I may have the dubious distinction of being the only questioner named before having my concerns dismissed.

Some of you will know that in the absence of data from city staff, I have compiled a Homes for Whom database covering all of the spot rezonings I am aware of that have arisen during the current Council’s term. To do this I had to visit more than 380 individual Shape Your City city websites, one for each rezoning project. The phrase hiding in plain sight comes to mind. It’s worth noting that I undertook this thankless task because for the past two years city staff have refused to provide such statistics to Councillors, let alone the great unwashed public taxpayers.

I also had to visit a separate city building permit website in order to see which of these projects have received building permits. Today’s special number: 8,641 is the number of spot rezoned homes approved by this Council for which building permits have been issued. To be clear, other permits may have been issued for projects started before this Council, and this number does not include the permits for homes that did not require rezoning, so it’s a conservative number, but useful.

As for the rest? I am tired of having my numbers ignored or set aside with no contrary evidence, so today you get the lot. There are disclaimers, of course:

  1. The city does not tell anyone when they update their Shape Your City websites—they tell you on the site but nowhere else. So there may be some numbers in (minor) error;
  2. Similarly, the city’s building permit website does not advise when a permit is issued, so my 8,641 number may be shy—but I have the list of everything I am aware of that had been permitted at the time I visited their site;
  3. I know I have missed some entire sites. I rely on publicly available updates and individual readers telling me about what’s happening in their neighbourhood, which I then investigate and add to my database if I’ve not already caught it.

So much for disclaimers. Hopefully you’ll agree the effect of these is to dampen, not expand, the numbers which follow.

The Big Hitters

Of course the city’s 51,000 number probably does not include the following:

  • Broadway Plan—30,000 homes
  • Jericho Lands—10,000
  • Making Home—10,000. Note, I’m using the Mayor’s number here
  • Total—50,000 homes

The Quiet Projects

Unless you live in the immediate neighbourhood, you are forgiven for forgetting the following projects that appear to be done deals:

  • Langara Gardens—2,100 homes
  • Little Mountain—1,573 still to come
  • Northeast False Creek—3,400 still to come
  • Senakw’—6,000 in latest proposal
  • Skeena Terrace—1,700 hot off the press
  • East Fraser Lands—8,800 estimated (the planning team ignored my data requests so I looked at the ODP)
  • Total—23,573 homes

The Inevitable Projects

These are the projects that creep up over time—I have run their numbers out to 2050 based on data from the city:

  • Duplexing—4,500 additional homes by 2050 at current build rates
  • Laneways—12,000
  • Streamlining rental—4,700 from city staff estimates
  • Total—21,200 homes

For those not paying attention, we are up to 94,773 homes so far. But we’ve forgotten two chunks, one controversial, the other on the record:

Controversial numbers

The Broadway Plan and Jericho Lands words and numbers don’t match. We’ve shown the math in several articles, but as a reminder:

  • Jericho Lands—the plans illustrate 8,000 more homes than the planning words say, meaning 65 towers is not what they say it is—they’re shy about 8,000 homes;
  • Broadway Plan—this is even more egregious than Jericho. There are 3 sections to the Plan, which by the words could accommodate 49,000 more homes than the 30,000 I’ve noted above
  • Total—57,000 homes

The Nitty Gritty numbers

There’s no easy way to do this without being called a liar, so hereafter is the list of 350+ spot rezoned projects along with the number of units they include. Where the number is zero, it means there was no available city information on the quantity of homes proposed when I reviewed the Shape Your City website. This is the city’s approach in much of the Cambie Corridor and more recently, in the areas covered by their Streamlining Rental initiative which is generating many proposal already. Note that the list is in address numerical order, which is the way the city does it. After each address is a hyphen (-), then the number of homes of whatever type. Again, my apologies at the length of this list:

5-15 West 2nd Ave and 1751 Ontario St -122

46-96 West King Edward Avenue-0

57 Lakewood-89

100 W 49th-0

103-111 N Templeton Dr and 2185 Oxford St-36

105-125 West 49th Avenue-0

109 E 40th Ave-69

118-150 Robson-131

119-133 West 41st Avenue-20

131-163 W 49th-68

146-186 West 41st Avenue & 5726 Columbia Street-40

156-160 west 2nd Ave-0

157-163 W King Edward-0

160 W 44th-0

163 W King Edward Ave (DP-2022-00029)-19

168 West 44th Avenue-0

183 W King Edward & 4088 Columbia-0

185-193 Southwest Marine Drive-46

187-195 West 41st Avenue-23

187 W King Edward Ave (DP-2021-00469)-16

188-198 West King Edward Avenue-17

197 W 26th Ave (DP-2021-01046)-0

203 W 49th Ave (DP-2020-00922)-92

207 E 4th Ave (DP-2021-00216)-59

208-232 W 41st-156

277-291 W 42nd-211

282 W 49th-228

304 E 1st Ave (DP-2020-00370)-111

305 Main St (DP-2021-00795)-117

319 W 49th Ave (DP-2020-00703)-63

314-328 W Hastings St-128

320 E Hastings St (DP-2020-00721)-105

325-343 W 41st-83

325-341 W 42nd-215

327 Main St (DP-2021-00788)-78

338 E 2nd Ave (DP-2020-00355)-95

349 East 6th Ave-82

357-475 W 41st-416

376 W 45th Ave (DP-2021-00086)-27

396 SW Marine Dr-0

401 Jackson Ave (DP-2021-00481)-172

404-434 West 23rd Avenue-32

418-496 Alexander St-181

420 Hawks Avenue-21

427-477 W 39th-176

435-475 West 28th Avenue-50

441-475 W 42nd-124

445 Kingsway and 2935 St. George Street-215

450 Alexander St-183

455 W 64th Ave (DP-2020-00653)-43

456-496 Prior-262

463 Victoria Dr (DP-2021-00699)-11

475 W 27th Ave-0

478-496 West 48th Ave-59

480 Broughton-60

485 W 28th (DP-2022-00444)-27

485 w 35th-17

486 W 26th-29

495 W 41st-99

498 W 26th Ave-29

500-650 West 57th – Pearson dogwood-2638

500 W 57th Ave (DP-2019-00390)-253

514 West 61st Avenue-0

514-530 West 59th Avenue (DP-2022-00355)-20

515 W 60th-0

520 – 590 W 29th Ave-46

524-528 Powell St (DP-2020-00287)-114

526 Granville-0

526-528 w 37th-22

534-550 Cambie Street-0

546 W 13th Ave (DP-2021-00922)-135

550-606 E King Edward Ave-0

560 Raymur-59

568 W 49th Ave (formerly 564 – 570 W 49th Ave) (DP-2021-00782)-35

582-588 West King Edward Avenue-36

601 Beach Crescent-455

602-644 Kingsway-80

607-621 W 28th-0

608-632 W 54th-0

610-644 Kingsway-53

618 W 32nd-34

620-644 West King Edward Avenue & 4111 Ash Street-57

622-688 SW Marine Dr-1146

625-677 Pacific-1017

628-682 West 28th Avenue & 4435 Ash Street-62

647 W 31st Ave (DP-2021-00297)-30

668-692 West 54th Avenue-0

686 E 22nd & 3811-3833 Fraser & 679 East 23rd Avenue-121

691 W 28th Ave

692 West 29th Avenue-0

707 W 27th-0

708-796 Renfrew Street and 2906-2908 East Georgia Street-73

717-743 West 28nd Avenue-0

721-735 W 49th-0

724 E 56th-12

728-796 Main-94

750–772 Pacific Boulevard (Northeast False Creek Sub-area 6B — Plaza of Nations) DP-2021-00830-820

750 Southwest Marine Drive-0

756 W 26th-0

777 Pacific Boulevard (Northeast False Creek Sub-area 10C)-386

788 Cardero-177

800 Quebec-0

809 W 41st-131

810 Kingsway-108

811 Carrall Street-0

815-825 Commercial Drive & 1680 Adanac Street-38

826 W 37th Ave (DP-2022-00388)-0

835-837 East Hastings Street-39

847-867 West 28th Avenue-0

855 Kingsway-50

855-865 W 10th-0

877-887 W 28th-0

906-982 W 18th & 907-969 W 19th-208

949 West 41st Avenue & 5469-5507 Willow Street-1600

950 West 41st Avenue-299

952 W 14th Ave (formerly 946 W 14th Ave) (DP-2020-00813)-9

969 Burrard-392

981 Davie St (formerly 1190 Burrard St)-154

988 West 64th Avenue & 8030-8130 Oak Street-130

1001 Kingsway-66

1008 West 52nd Avenue-0

1010 W 57th Ave (DP-2020-00456)-11

1015 E Hastings-165

1040-1080 Barclay-871

1055 Harwood Street-125

1059-1075 Nelson Street-485

1063-1075 Barclay-374

1065 Harwood – 1332 Thurlow-279

1066-1078 Harwood-279

1068 Burnaby-121

1075 Nelson-501

1106 Pendrell-207

1116 Pendrell-125

1157 Burrard-289

1188 Bidwell-108

1190 Burrard-154

1210 Seymour-112

1220-1298 E Hastings-207

1225 Cardero-157

1247 Kingsway (DP-2021-00927)-32

1250 Granville St (DP-2019-01014)-51

1265-1281 Kingsway-43

1290 Burrard-810

1290 Hornby-159

1303 Kingsway & 3728 Clark Drive-54

1317 Richards & 508 Drake-194

1325 W 70th Ave (DP-2021-00392)-66

1325-1333 East Georgia Street-30

1345 Davie-217

1369-1381 Kingsway-49

1379 W 71st Ave (DP-2021-00109)-39

1405 E 15th & 3071-3047 Maddams St-79

1406-1410 East King Edward-109

1444 Alberni-443

1445-1455 West Georgia-119

1450 W Georgia-355

1477 West Broadway (DP-2022-00383)-226

1480 Howe St-481

1485 Davie-179

1488 Alberni-443

1488 Robson-319

1500 Robson-127

1500 W Georgia-220

1503 Kingsway-0

1506 West 68th Avenue & 8405-8465 Granville Street-45

1515 W 49th-8

1520-1558 W 6th-50

1522 W 45th Ave and 6137 Granville St-0

1535-1557 Grant Street-35

1550 Alberni-188

1575 West Georgia Street and 620 Cardero Street-0

1608-1616 W Georgia & 1667 Alberni-455

1616 W 7th Ave-47

1616-1698 W Georgia-126

1636 Clark Drive & 1321-1395 East 1st Avenue-90

1640-1650 Alberni St (DP-2022-00207)-288

1650 E 12th-65

1656 Adanac-57

1680 Adanac-38

1668-1684 Alberni-94

1728 & 1730 Alberni & 735 Bidwell-401

1742-1766 Renfrew-64

1745 West 8th Ave-0

1749-1769 E 33rd Ave-0

1750 Pendrell-173

1763 Comox-316

1766 Frances St-84

1768 Cook Street-251

1777 Jervis-85

1780 East Broadway-688

1810 Alberni-0

1818 Alberni-18

1837 E 11th & 2631 Victoria Dr-136

1850 Main-130

1880-1898 Main Street, 1851 Lorne Street & 202 East 2nd Avenue-131

1885 E Pender-64

1925, 1955, 1975 SE Marine Dr-72

1940 Main Street-49

1943-1999 E Hastings-131

1956-1990 Stainsbury Avenue-160

1977 W 41st Ave and 5688 Maple St-0

2001-2021 W 41st-42

2009-2037 Stainsbury Ave-123

2010 Harrison-263

2037-2061 East Broadway-54

2050 Rupert St (DP-2021-00851)-64

2062-2092 E Broadway-71

2086-2098 West 8th Ave (at Arbutus)-140

2106 W 8th Ave-5

2109 w 35th-12

2120 Cornwall Ave-10

2120 W 10th Ave-48

2122 E Hastings St (DP-2021-01067)-33

2126 W 34th Ave, 5025 Arbutus St, 2105-2129 W 35th Ave and 5055-5095 Arbutus St-0

2130-2288 Harrison Drive-72

2202 Main St (DP-2021-01012)-76

2221 Main St – 188 E 6th Ave-145

2246-2268 E Broadway-57

2301 Granville (DP-2017-01278 – C3-A)-41

2309-2369 East 10th Avenue-150

2333 – 2339 E 34th Ave (DP-2022-00022)-0

2336-2366 Charles Street-62

2406-2488 Garden Drive-109

2406-2484 Renfrew St-180

2512-2582 west Broadway-63

2518-2540 Grandview Hwy-64

2518-2582 W Broadway (DP-2021-00697)-63

2538 Birch Street (formerly 1296 West Broadway)-253

2665 Duke St (DP-2020-00820)-8

2720 Ward St (DP-2020-00781)-8

2725-2751 Kingsway-217

2735 E 41st-32

2776 Semlin Drive and 2025 East 12th Avenue-104

2810 & 2830 Grandview Highway-57

2886 Commercial Dr-47

2924 Venables-146

2929 Commercial-27

2856 w 3rd-3

2930 Renfrew St-50

2828 Horley St (DP-2021-00919)-6

2970 Kingsway-127

3030-3038 Commercial Drive-0

3070 Kingsway (DP-2020-00306)-40

3084 W 4th & 2010 Balaclava (DP-2021-00652)-35

3104-3130 Southeast Marine Drive & 8420 Kerr Street-83

3125 Pierview Crescent (formerly 8420 Kerr St) (DP-2021-00561)-90

3205 Arbutus-54

3220 Cambie Street-53

3235-3261 Clive Avenue-68

3279-3297 Vanness Ave (DP-2020-00913)-102

3304 Kingsway-79

3435 East Hastings Street-45

3449-3479 W 41st & 5664 Collingwood-114

3480 E Kent Ave S (DP-2021-00956)-314

3505 Fleming St-2

3532 E Hastings Street-34

3555-3561 E Hastings-56

3609-3687 Arbutus-116

3625 – 3639 Kingsway (DP-2021-00197)-38

3668 West 10th Ave-35

3803-3823 W 10th Ave-50

3970-3998 Main-60

4118-4138 Cambie-90

4261 Cambie St and 503 W 27th Ave-60

4310 Slocan-8

4338-4362 Cambie Street-68

4370 Sofia St-19

4408-4488 Fraser St-100

4426-4464 Knight & 1406 E 28th-72

4459 Rupert Street (DP-2017-00218)-12

4506 Rupert Street & 3309 Price Street-51

4545 West 10th Ave-530

4575 Ash & 623-693 west 30th-8

4575 Granville-24

4825 Laurel-0

4875 Victoria Dr (DP-2022-00398)-0

4902 James St – Little Mountain – Building EA (DP-2020-00912)-70

4906-4970 Quebec Street-55

4949-5255 Heather & 657 West 37th-2612

4992-5138 Ash Street-133

5079-5161 Ash St-62

5098 James St (DP-2020-00442 – Little Mountain Building EB)-87

5107-5119 Main-37

5163-5187 Joyce-293

5190-5226 Cambie Street-59

5229-5249 Ash St-39

5235-5275 Kersland Dr-63

5327-5477 Oak-0

5337-5387 Willow Street and 826 West 37th Ave-0

5412 Cambie-23

5455 Balsam St-145

5470 Cambie St-231

5504-5536 Victoria Dr-0

5507-5521 Columbia Street-0

5512 Willow St (DP-2020-00683)-20

5562-5688 Manson St-392

5589-5661 Baillie Street-120

5590 Victoria Dr (DP-2022-00236)-54

5659 Dunbar St (DP-2021-00665)-25

5664 Collingwood St-109

5740 Cambie Street-213

5763-5791 Oak & 1008 W 41st-183

5812-5844 Cambie Street-265

5828-5850 Granville St-0

5910-5998 Cambie-168

5995-6015 Dunbar St

6031 Dunbar St-9

6151-6261 Granville St and 1511 W 47th Ave-226

6212-6218 Ash St-0

6218-6230 Oak Street-0

6225-6263 Yukon-0

6288 Ash St (DP-2021-00696)-12

6409-6487 Cambie-48

6538 Oak St (DP-2021-00053)-18

6679 Main Street-28

6829-6869 Cambie Street-65

7018 Main-124

7239-7255 Oak Street-18

7280 Fraser St (DP-2021-00333)-93

7057-7075 Oak St and 1015 W 54th Ave-0

7510 Cambie St (DP-2021-00745)-90

7519 Victoria Dr (DP-2021-00597)-6

7525 Cambie-76

7969-7989 Cambie St-0

7730-7772 Cambie-68

7755 Yukon St (DP-2021-00793)-36

7843 Cambie Street-29

7929-7949 Cambie St-27

8029-8225 Oak Street-231

8420 Ash St (DP-2022-00069) & 8491 Canbie (DP-2022-0007)-377

8495 Cambie St (DP-2022-00070)-272

8655 Granville-58

8709 Cartier St (DP-2018-00043)-10-100

8795-8803 Granville Street-15

8804 Osler-38

8815-8827 Selkirk Street-33

TOTALS – 43240

For those tired of math, I’ll summarize:

  • There are 138,013 homes spot rezoned but not completed as far as I am aware of. Although historically, each home has 2.2 persons, let’s be conservative and only allow 2 persons per home (that 0.2 person has always made me uncomfortable)
  • So that’s enough homes for 276,000 additional folks from now to 2050, more than the city’s most expansive estimate of 260,000
  • And that doesn’t include an additional 57,000 homes in the Broadway Plan and Jericho that city staff may argue about, but which are inherent in their words and planning diagrams—that’s an additional 114,000 folks.

So what about the Vancouver Plan?

Indeed, what about it. There are no Vancouver Plan numbers anywhere above, and I would bet the farm (if I had one) that the proposed plan contemplates thousands of homes additional to those noted above.

We don’t need it. We don’t want it. This Council has no business ramming it through.

Calls to Action

It’s too late now to speak to the Mayor and Council about this, but you can email Mayor and Council with your thoughts right up until they finish deliberations—earlier would be better. 

It’s always best to offer your own reasons for supporting or opposing this Plan—be as brief or expansive as you wish. But try not to fall into the trap of copy/pasting the thoughts of others—doing so diminishes the power of your message.

Vancouver’s civic election is October 15th of this year. Lots more damage can be done to our city before that date—and it will continue, and worsen, unless TEAM for a Livable Vancouver  elects a majority (6 of 10) City Councillors—less than 6 and not much will change. If you are concerned that what you’ve just read is an example of what’s wrong with our city, and want to bring back its livability, join TEAM and work with us to restore Vancouver as a place we can all afford to call home.

Today’s question: Are you in favour of the Vancouver Plan?

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By Brian Palmquist

I am a Vancouver-based architect, building envelope and building code consultant and LEED Accredited Professional (the first green building system). I am semi-retired for the moment, still teaching and writing, so not beholden to any client or city hall. City Conversations mix real discussion with research and observations based on my 40+ year career including the planning, design and construction of almost every type and scale of project. I am the author of the award winning Amazon best seller “An Architect’s Guide to Construction.” I am also a member of TEAM for a livable Vancouver, a new political party dedicated to restoring a livable Vancouver starting with the 2022 civic election. Although I am not a candidate for TEAM or any other civic party, City Conversations are generally congruent with TEAM policy, so if you like the ideas that I’m writing about, please consider joining TEAM.

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2 thoughts on “I’m done with the Vancouver Plan’s false math! (CC #65: correcting the omissions in city staff’s math.) by Brian Palmquist

  1. Brian, clearly the city has an agenda that is at variance with those of us who want to retain a livable city with a sense of community and neighbourhoods. That is what protects residents from crime, loneliness and ultimately alienation. My only explanation for having their plan shoved down our throats is the money generated by expanding property taxes, which are already roughly twice as high as those in Burnaby for comparable housing. I am frankly considering a move in that direction after being advised by a VPD officer that I should move out of this city unless I had to live here! This conversation followed vandalism to my property after I asked a renter in a property two doors away if they could park elsewhere so I could have deliveries made to my home. The rental they lived in housed 11 unrelated renters, most of whom owned cars. The city became aware of this “rooming house” situation, and renters have dwindled as a result. The house is apparently owned by a lawyer! Enough said; those of us who love and have served this city will have to continue to push back vigorously, or get out of town. Is there a rally planned to demonstrate against this ridiculous plan? I would like to attend. Thank you.

  2. I admire you Brian P and I read all your posts. I have read a lot about the ‘shading’ issues, but little about the inherent light and noise pollution of this Broadway Plan. Are you aware of any studies or articles commissioned by the city council or city planners?


    Sent from my iPad


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