Expert says Vancouver Broadway plan battle is a sign of things to come

It will be months before any shovels hit the ground, but Vancouver has a redevelopment plan for what it calls a “second city center.”

After six marathon meetings and comments from hundreds of residents, city councilors voted seven to four in favor of the Broadway plan Wednesday night.

The plan sets ground rules for development in the 500-block area surrounding the new Broadway subway, and projects about 50,000 new residents over the next 30 years.

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Vancouver Council approves controversial 30-year Broadway plan

Towers up to 40 floors can be built near transfer stations, and towers from 20 to 30 floors can be built in several central or side zones. The city is aiming to have 65 percent of construction leased out, a quarter of that at below-market rates.

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The plan proved controversial, partly due to its sheer scale and central location.

But urban planner and SFU Urban Program Director Andy Yang said the sometimes heated debate over the Broadway plan points in some way to Vancouver’s future.

Vancouver City Council votes to approve Broadway Plan

Vancouver City Council votes to approve Broadway Plan

“I think what we see from this plan is the tension and how much the city has changed,” Yang said. “We have run out of land that would be easy to develop, and the land that we have left is either currently occupied or it is land that has neighbors. Development and change in Vancouver will be much more intricate. It will take a different level of leadership, a new level of leadership that deals not only with what can be, but with what is.”

This “mess” was evidenced by more than two dozen amendments to the Broadway Plan before it was approved, including what Mayor Kennedy Stewart called “the strongest tenant protection in Canada.”

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The new rules for tenants require developers in the plan area to find suitable alternative housing for tenants before they can begin demolition.

It also requires them to allow tenants to return to the new building either at their old rent or 20 percent below the city’s average, whichever is cheaper.

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On Thursday, Stewart called the plan a “major win” for both the city and tenants.

“Nearly 75% of the new apartments coming up within 30 years will be for tenants, which is a big deal if you think about jobs in this corridor, health care jobs, education jobs, health care jobs.” , – he said.

“What pleases me the most is that the rent for many of these apartments is consistently below market. So if you’re on minimum wage, units will now be created for you.”

The plan has also been amended to allow towers to be built on sites with 30 m (99 ft) facades versus 45 m (150 ft) fronts, which can make it easier to assemble the ground, as well as limit the number of towers per block surface to three . .

Another amendment required the city to build a bike path on Broadway suitable for all ages and abilities.

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The plan amendments also require city staff to be accountable in many areas, many of which are in response to concerns about the strain that 50,000 new residents could place on city amenities.

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Employees have been ordered to report on the goal of creating new parks and open spaces, as well as allocating more than 10 percent of road space for non-vehicle use, such as mini-parks, vegetable gardens or playgrounds.

They were also ordered to return with an operational review of the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, “including immediate and future staffing needs and new or expanded fire facilities”, given potential population growth.

The plan was also amended to formally urge the Department of Education to prioritize funding for new and expanded schools to meet the corridor’s growing population.

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“I think it is difficult for staff and especially observers to know what the content and economic implications of all the amendments are, but I suspect we will start replanning, I think in September,” when the plan officially takes effect. said the UOlx Praca economist

“I think the bottom line is that the council has done an imperfect job, but has really tried to balance the need for new homes with the preservation of nature and the quality of life for people who live close to the plan area.”

Areas closest to new metro stations are likely to be the first to undergo redevelopment, he said.

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The plan faced harsh criticism from critics who said that the size of the towers would create a “concrete canyon” and was inconsistent with the nature of the terrain.

Others warned that it would open the door to gentrification and land speculation.

Graph. Colleen Hardwicke, who ultimately voted against the plan, filed an unsuccessful bid to put the entire plan on hold until the upcoming municipal elections.

“It’s the loss of affordable rent, the displacement of people and, in fact, the increase in density, which is not justified by population growth or employment growth,” she told the council.

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Should the Broadway corridor become a high-density area?

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The plan has also run into trouble from some tenants, with the Vancouver Tenants’ Union calling the new safeguards “insufficient” and giving no timeline for implementation or details about the application.

The Olx Praca Attorney General and Minister in Charge of Housing said he believes the city’s safeguards are working and said the province is supporting them through Olx Praca Housing “to the best of our ability.”

“These buildings, many of them are aging and will be replaced. So if we can protect the tenants, but not the buildings, and provide them with newer and more affordable apartments, that is our goal,” he said.

The plan will be officially implemented on September 1st.

— With files from Aaron MacArthur.

© 2022 Olx Praca, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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