(Update: This motion was defeated by a referral to staff, with some Council members citing a process already underway across the city under the new Housing Vancouver Strategy. Some concerns were raised about an individual councillor attempting to set a precedent circumventing the regular consultation processes and going straight ahead to staff report and public hearing. Also of note, all four NPA councillors supported the proposed motion. Subsequent media coverage will be added at the bottom of this post.)
NPA Councillor Hector Bremner has proposed a motion entitled “West Point Grey Rental Density for Students and Seniors” for Regular Council on Tuesday, December 12, 2017. No speakers signed up to speak, but Councillors have received correspondence for and against, so the motion will be discussed and handled today in Regular Council (if it gets seconded). Below are a short chronology and observations, the text of the motion, then excerpts from letters for (Abundant Housing Vancouver/AHV) and against (West Point Grey Residents Association/WPGRA, and Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods/CVN).
24-Sept: Abundant Housing Vancouver holds walking tour “Vancouver’s Worst Zoning”
14-Oct: NPA Hector Bremner is elected to replace Councillor Geoff Meggs who had stepped down
29-Nov: City Council adopts the Housing Vancouver Strategy 2018-2027
12-Dec: Motion by Clr Bremner to rezone North West Point Grey
The main rationale of the motion appears to be that 6-storey buildings in this neighbourhood would be a smart and feasible way to create housing for “secured market rentals,” social housing, or seniors supportive or assisted housing. Any of these three options would justify regulatory relaxations.
As far as we can tell, no consideration has been given to:
- economic viability (e.g., costs per buildable foot of land);
- restrictions on developers and developments to ensure that any housing produced here would be affordable for typical renters, social housing, seniors, or assisted tenants (see why this is needed – Global TV story on $5400/month rentals);
- the current context of development consultations and planning, such as the huge developments being considered for nearby Jericho Lands;
- community consultation.
The motion calls for a staff report as soon as possible, “in order for Council to consider referring the matter to a public hearing.”
WPGRA says the motion should be deemed out of order and dismissed, and states that it is in contradiction with the Housing Vancouver Strategy in terms of consultation processes, points out that the Jericho Lands development falls inside WPG and will be going through a planning process and should be addressed first, and questions the proponents’ claim that it would produce affordable housing.
CVN challenges the motion’s “implied intent to impose a drastic change to the existing zoning without any neighbourhood consultation or involvement in the planning process,” and recommends that the community be meaningfully involved in collaboration with the City for any future planning of the neighbourhood.
AHV says the proposal would allow six-storey buildings on all residential land in NWPG, provided they are rental, social, or seniors’ housing. “Repealing mansion-only zoning is a small but important step towards solving Vancouver’s housing crisis.”
TEXT OF MOTION Continue reading