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Speaking notes: 2325-2327 W 49th Ave
A five-storey rental building in Kerrisdale
[Update: Passed 7-0! Sim, Kirby-Yung, Bligh, and Fry were absent.]
There’s a public hearing on Thursday that will consider a number of rezonings, including a five-storey rental building at 49th and Vine in Kerrisdale. So far it’s gotten 18 letters in opposition and one letter in support. I’ve signed up to speak.
Hi, my name is Russil Wvong. I’m calling to support this rezoning. 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 people who are not.
I’ve talked to many, many people in Vancouver who feel like they’re getting pushed out, like they’re just barely holding on. What’s driving this is that we don’t have enough housing to go around. So then prices and rents have to rise to unbearable levels to force people to leave, so that the remaining people match the limited supply of housing. We end up with low vacancy rates, high rents, and overcrowded and insecure housing.
Normally when we don’t have enough of something, prices rise, but then people produce more, because the incentive to build is stronger. With housing, the problem is that we’ve made it really slow and difficult to get permission. When we have such a terrible shortage of housing, it’s hard to understand why we’re still approving relatively small projects on a site-by-site basis.
The Vancouver Plan basically says that we should allow the next level up: gentle density in residential neighbourhoods, high-rises near SkyTrain stations, and in between, mid-rise apartment buildings like this one near local shopping areas. This site is right on West 49th, and it’s a five-minute walk, about 400 metres, to West Boulevard and the Save On Foods.
This one project isn’t going to fix the problem of housing scarcity, all on its own. But if we can build a lot of projects like this near local shopping areas across Vancouver, that would really help. It’s also good that this project is only replacing four single-detached houses, instead of tearing down an entire rental building, so there’s very little displacement of current renters.
I read through the written comments from opponents. Quite a few of them basically said that they don’t want the neighbourhood to change. I understand that. It’s natural to fear the unknown. But we live in a society, which means we’re basically participating in a large-scale system of cooperation. We all depend on the health-care system, for example. If we refuse to build more housing, where are health-care workers supposed to live?
Trying to prevent other people from living nearby, to protect the tranquility of your neighbourhood, may be understandable, but it’s refusing to cooperate. If the only people who can afford to stay in Vancouver are homeowners who moved here more than 20 years ago, the health-care system isn’t going to be sustainable.
We need more housing, especially secure rental housing.
Reddit thread on r/vancouver.
Ontario is suffering from a similar shortage of housing, and younger people are boiling mad. A recent post on Reddit, from r/canadahousing:
Ontario, get ready - you’re going to lose your professionals very very soon
Partner and I are both professionals, with advanced degrees, working in a major city in healthcare. We work hard, clawed our way up from the working class to provide ourselves and our family a better life. Worked to pay off large student loans and worked long hours at the hospital during the pandemic. We can’t afford to buy a house where we work. Hell, we can’t afford to buy in the surrounding suburbs. In order to work those long hours to keep the hospital running, we live in the city and pay astronomical rent. It’s sustainable and we accepted it- although disappointed we cannot buy.
What I can’t accept is paying astronomical rent for entitled slumlords who we have to fight tooth and nail to fix anything. Tooth and fucking nail. Faucet not working? Wait two weeks. Mold in the ceiling? We’ll just paint over it. The cheapest of materials, the cheapest of fixes. Half our communication goes unanswered, half our issues we pay out of pocket to deal with ourselves.
Why do I have to work my ass off to serve my community (happily) to live in a situation where I’m paying some scumbag’s mortgage when there is zero benefit to renting? Explain this to me. We can’t take it anymore. Ontario, you’re going to lose your workers if this doesn’t change. It makes me feel like a slave.