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Speaking notes for Fraser and 17th rezoning
A 14-storey rental building with 110 homes, 20% non-market
There was a public hearing last night for four rezonings, including a 14-storey rental building at Fraser and 17th, near Kingsway. I spoke in support, along with a number of other people. There was one speaker in opposition.
Council approved the rezoning unanimously.
Hi, my name is Russil Wvong. I’m calling to support this rezoning, which is a little over a kilometre from where I live. I'm a long-time Vancouver resident. I’m a member of a pro-housing group called VANA, the Vancouver Area Neighbours Association. Although I’m a homeowner myself, I know a lot of younger people and renters.
The reason I'm calling is that housing in Vancouver is maddeningly scarce and expensive, making us all worse off. If approved, this 14-storey apartment building will provide 90 badly needed market rental homes. Renting in a purpose-built rental building like this one means you can have secure housing, without having to be rich enough to own, and without the insecurity that comes with renting a condo or basement suite.
The building will also add about 20 below-market rental homes, which are even more desperately needed. They’ll be affordable for working households with incomes between $45,000 and $72,000.
There’s very little displacement of existing renters.
The location is right on Fraser Street, close to Kingsway, so it’s adjacent to two frequent bus lines. It’s 30 minutes by bus or 20 minutes by bike to downtown.
The staff report notes there’s nearby schools, Florence Nightingale Elementary and Tupper Secondary, which are both under-capacity. So adding more apartments, with one-third of them being two-bedroom apartments, is a good opportunity to add more family-sized housing where we have under-used schools.
I understand that opponents are concerned about the height. But this is basically a block off Kingsway, which has high-rise apartment buildings as you go towards downtown, approaching Main, and also as you go further out at Kingsway and Knight.
There’s a tradeoff between height and affordability. In particular, including 20% below-market rentals, which provide less income than market rentals, means allowing more density. For opponents who say that 20 below-market homes aren’t enough, the way to get more would be to allow more height and density.
Another concern is about street parking. This can be addressed by introducing permit parking on the street. It doesn’t seem like a good reason to block desperately needed rental housing.
Thank you for your time.