Category — Housing
The Metro Vancouver Housing Corp. has confirmed that the Heather Place redevelopment in Vancouver, which will see the replacement of 86 units of social housing and the addition of 144 units of additional rental housing at 14th and Heather, will remain an asset of the corporation.
The May 17 decision should put to rest claims that the project would be sold to a developer for condominiums. In fact, all existing tenants will be able to remain on the site during the phased development, which should go to rezoning later this year.
The project will be built under the city’s Rental 100 program to foster the creation of new rental housing.
May 22, 2013
It’s an upside down world today for critics of Mayor Gregor Robertson’s Vision Vancouver, who like to claim council is ignoring affordable housing to ensure the city remains a profit playground for developers.
But today’s Sun features a lengthy report from the Urban Development Institute claiming “the high costs of development” in Vancouver, particularly for community amenity charges, may be contributing to high housing costs. If council is pandering to developers, this is a strange way of showing its love.
(As chief city planner Brian Jackson points out, reduced city fees would not necessarily reduce costs, just increase profit.)
According to the UDI analysis, Vancouver’s community amenity charges can be as much as 75 percent of the profit a developer would make by achieving higher density in a rezoning. Land costs in Vancouver are 70 percent higher than those in Burnaby and five times the price in Surrey. Yet construction continues in Vancouver and so do sales.
So the City of Vancouver is actually taking more from developers than neighbouring municipalities while implementing new strategies to build affordable housing . . . and requiring the new buildings to achieve LEED gold standards while we’re at it!
Whatever is the world coming to?
Next question: is Vancouver charging too much? Or are others charging too little?
May 10, 2013
The proposed redevelopment of the George Pearson Centre lands on Cambie, just now at the beginning of the consultation and design process, is already encountering criticism, both from the NDP Opposition and many advocates for people with disabilities.
Activists like the redoubtable Paul Caune, interim chair of the city’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities, is one of those who believes Pearson should be closed, not replaced, in the course of redevelopment. Caune makes a forceful case that Pearson residents should be provided community-based care, not institutional care.
Now NDP finance critic Bruce Ralston is challenging the financial model proposed for the development. The sale of some or all of Pearson’s lands is counted in the asset sales required to balance the current budget. Wrong way, says Ralston, who may have more to say on the matter if he becomes finance minister.
Ralston is proposing development partnerships to ensure future revenues flow back to the province and to health care.
Neither health care delivery models or provincial budgetting are managed by the city’s land use processes, but both will clearly be at play in the ultimate outcome on this vital site along the Canada Line.
March 7, 2013
The upcoming Buildex panel on affordable housing, featured on The Tyee today, will propose five steps to affordable housing, some of which Vancouver is already taking.
Brent Toderian’s call for better public transit and protection of job space seems exactly what Vancouver is doing, not surprising given his recent stint as city planner. The same goes for suggestions by Toderian and architect Sean McEwen to push for housing options beyond home ownership. Vancouver’s Rental 100 (formerly STIR) is just such an initiative.
Some ideas, however, may hit political walls. I’m sympathetic to McEwen’s suggestions for conditional use permits, which would allow more density for uses, like seniors’ housing, that meet community goals. I’m well aware, however, that some communities oppose density outright, regardless of the use.
Co-housing, as proposed by architect Dane Jansen, is another appealing affordable housing model. One such idea is currently going through the Vancouver city hall process, but I’m aware of community concerns about co-housing ideas as well. (That’s not to say those concerns are valid.)
Fifth idea: go small. Yes, that’s happening.
February 11, 2013