Feint by Numbers: 220,000—we got this! (#80: The Mayor’s housing target has been in his cards for some time) by Brian Palmquist

(City Conversation #78 was first published 13-Sep-2022)
(For a list of City Conversations by Brian Palmquist on CityHallWatch, please visit this page.)


September 11th 2022—a break from neighbourhood discussions to address the Mayor’s housing promises.

Above: Add the first line. Current spot rezoning summary from my Homes for Whom database—212,000+ homes—a simple rounding error!

“Dad, is that a smile on your face?” asked my son. “You’re usually frowning when you look at your Homes for Whom database. What’s up?”

“Well,” I answered, “the Mayor just announced his five-point housing plan for the next ten years—at least, if he remains Mayor, which looks quite possible at the moment.” He frowned, knowing my disdain for the incumbent.

“That still doesn’t explain your smile,” he kept up his questioning.

“I’m smiling because the Mayor has just proven the accuracy of my predictions in the Homes for Whom database, although I wish he and I were both wrong.”

He frowned. “You’re gonna have to explain that—all I see are a few big numbers—what do they mean and how does that relate to the Mayor’s election promises?”

“The Mayor claims he will preside over development of 220,000 new homes over the next 10 years, which is the same time frame for most of my Homes for Whom database. My numbers come from just four sources—the 4 columns to the right of Total Home Counts:

  • Official Home count for mega projects is from just 3 projects: the Broadway Plan’s 30,000 homes; Jericho Lands’s 10,000 published target; and the Mayor’s ambitious 10,000 from Making Home;
  • Add mega project homes count based on plans is from 4 projects where the official numbers don’t match what the plans say: 22,000 from the Kits portion of the Broadway Plan; 21,000 from the Fairview portion of the Broadway Plan; 6,000 from the Mount Pleasant part of the Broadway Plan; and 8,000 extra in the Jericho Plan;
  • Spot rezonings in pipeline or approved is the biggest number, 393 projects as of today, totalling 58,514 homes;
  • Additional committed homes over next 30 years includes 29 projects or initiatives, including: 4,500 new homes from duplexing; 8,800 more homes in the East Fraser Lands; and 12,000 more laneway homes. The balance of about 20,000 is from 26 specific projects that have been announced but not applied for—the Mayor’s 220,000 home press release mentions about half as meriting specialized planning teams.”

He paused thoughtfully. “Looks to me like some of your 29 additional homes projects have a 30-year time frame, not 10 years.”

I smiled, answering. “You are correct—about 11,000 of the total will likely happen after 10 years from now. When you do the math, my four columns total just over 212,000 homes—take away those 11,000 and we’re pretty much at 200,000.”

He interrupted. “So you’re about 10%, or 20,000 homes under his 220,000—seems a bit too loose to me.”

I smiled in as I pounced. “The numbers are close enough that we could say each of these categories is about 1/4 of the big number—right?” He nodded agreement.

“Here’s the rub for me. The second column, mega project homes count based on plans, is what I’ve been saying all along that the Broadway Plan and Jericho Lands Plan really show—city planning staff and pro-growth politicians have dissed my numbers, even called me a liar in public. And the third column is today’s snapshot. What about spot rezoning proposals outside of the Broadway Plan? What about those arising from the Vancouver Plan? Don’t tell me those will all total just 20,000 homes over 10 years—not in an environment where city staff and politicians have brought forward about 50,000 homes per year over the past four years—unfortunately they’ve built less than 1% of what they’ve approved, so it all feels less dire than it really is!”

“So what does all this really mean?” he asked, a bit hesitantly.

“I’m afraid it means my Homes for Whom predictions are pretty accurate, frightening though they are. It means the Broadway Plan and Jericho are really twice as big as their announced numbers—I guess the Mayor knows that or he’d not have such a big total, 220,000. It also means that many more mega projects will be moving forward if this Mayor is re-elected.”

“So what does 220,000 homes even look like?” he asked the obvious question.

“Remember our first discussion, 15 months ago, when I talked about some folks saying we need to build the equivalent of 60 Vancouver Houses over the next 10 years to accommodate our expected growth? While other proponents argued we need 160 Vancouver Houses over 10 years?” He nodded at this vague memory.

“The Mayor’s 220,000 is equivalent to 440 Vancouver Houses over 10 years—that’s 44 every year, scattered about the city or concentrated along the Broadway Plan, Jericho and throughout Vancouver neighbourhoods.”

The Mayor wants to squeeze in 44 Vancouver Houses every year 

This time the emotion was in his voice. He gave me his patented hug, whispered, “We’ve gotta stop this, Dad.”

The Time for Action will soon be too late

Please let me know what pre-election activities are happening in your neighbourhood—I will try to order my neighbourhood-based analyses to have maximum impact.

 TEAM for a Livable Vancouver is the only political party pledged to set aside the Vancouver Plan and the related Broadway Plan in favour of a neighbourhood-based planning process. Vancouver’s civic election is October 15th of this year. Lots more damage can still be done to our city before that date—and it will continue, and worsen, unless TEAM elects the next Mayor and a majority (6 of 10) City Councillors—less than 6 and not much will change for the better. A majority TEAM Park Board (4 of 7) will ensure our open spaces are integrated with the city rather than ignoring or fighting it. And our voice on the School Board will bring schools into sync with parks, open spaces and neighbourhood development. If you are concerned that the City Conversations you’ve been reading are examples of what’s wrong with our city and want to bring back Vancouver’s livability, join TEAM and work with us to restore Vancouver as a place we can all afford to call home.

And please let me know what other subjects you are passionate about so we can have that conversation before election day, October 15th.

Today’s question: Is 220,000 new homes in 10 years too few, too many, or just right? Or an unrealistic pipe dream? Why or why not? 

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Colleen Hardwick
for Mayor

Cleta Brown
Sean Nardi
Param Nijjar
Grace Quan
Stephen Roberts
Bill Tieleman

for School Trustee
Matiul Alam

for Park Board
Tricia Barker
Kathleen Larsen
Michelle Mollineaux
James Buckshon
Patrick Audley
Kumi Kimura

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