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Vancouver passes weak multiplex policy
A modest step that received a lot of lukewarm support
Vancouver city council held a public hearing on allowing multiplexes (four-plexes on 33-foot lots, six-plexes on 50-foot lots) last Thursday. It passed unanimously. Agenda and minutes. Previous posts on morehousing.ca.
Many of the people speaking in support (including me) urged council to go further rather than stopping here. I’m not sure if the ABC majority will do that, or if they’ll just take a victory lap and move on.
Some quotes. Peter Dowdy:
Ask yourselves if you would be where you are today, if you had to start your adult lives over in this housing market.
We need to stop with all the studies and endless consultations and just address the problem. But I'm done waiting for that to happen. We're going to be gone next year, thousands of miles from all our friends and the community we built here. Thousands of miles from all the people who helped me survive the first few months of my son's life.
And I don't expect anyone to feel sorry for us. We're fortunate to be able to leave. But I really wish the city would ask yourself why it's pushing out anyone under 40, and how Vancouver can expect to be a productive, vibrant place without them.
I thought Monte Paulsen made the best presentation:
I'm very excited to be here, because you might be my heroes. You are the only people who can fix our housing crisis.
I'm here with some suggestions. One: free the side yards. You know those little side strips you can barely get the garbage bin down. If you add all those up sixty thousand lots, a metre on either side, it's about four and a half square kilometres of land. That's an area the size of Stanley Park that you could put into housing. You could add an extra Stanley Park to this city. That's real hero stuff right there.
I went to city hall in person to present slides, and stayed for most of the day. I was surprised to find when people call in, the audio quality is worse in council chambers than it is online.
Direct links to each speaker. There were 10 people who spoke in opposition to multiplexes.
0:10:12 Presentation by Paula Huber
0:31:50 Questions from council to staff
1:44:35 Jake Fry, Smallworks (support)
1:50:02 Owen Brady, Abundant Housing Vancouver (support)
1:53:41 Reilly Wood, Abundant Housing Vancouver (support)
1:55:44 Peter Waldkirch, Abundant Housing Vancouver (support)
2:00:49 Richard Bell, Small Housing BC (support)
2:06:12 Russil Wvong, Vancouver Area Neighbours Association (support)
2:10:49 Bruce Haden, FLUID Architecture (support)
2:14:50 Robin Tavender (oppose)
2:20:28 Bel Dadwal, Four Corners Homes (support)
2:25:47 Peter Dowdy, Vancouver Area Neighbours Association (support)
2:29:08 Ron Rapp, Homebuilders Association of Vancouver (support)
2:34:32 Tilly Quan (oppose reduction of FSR limit for SFH)
2:38:02 Marcus Weber (support)
2:41:52 Julian Mentasti, Vancouver Area Neighbours Association (support)
2:44:35 Emily Tsang (oppose reduction of FSR limit for SFH)
2:48:11 Zoe Selena Mabry (support)
2:51:32 Barbara May (oppose)
2:55:32 Monte Paulsen, Climate Ready Buildings Group (support)
3:04:02 Randy Helton, CityHallWatch (oppose)
3:07:14 Helen Lui, Vancouver Area Neighbours Association (support)
3:10:04 Ingrid Roecker, UBC and AIR studio (support)
3:22:10 Laura Carey, Vancouver Heritage Foundation (concern about heritage incentives being weakened)
3:27:59 Vicki Potter (support)
3:31:42 George Federoff (support)
3:35:15 Sal Robinson (oppose)
3:40:28 Akashdeep Singh (support)
3:46:12 Chris Plervich (?) (oppose)
3:51:54 Carmen Kwan, Architectural Collective (support)
5:00:28 Jim Bussey, Formwerks Architecture (support)
5:05:47 Maureen Sharon (oppose)
5:09:18 Kevin Yu (support)
5:12:26 Carol Volkart (oppose)
5:17:05 Richard Nantel (oppose)
5:22:35 Colin Chan (oppose reduction of FSR limit for SFH)
5:27:00 Marlene Wickham (oppose)
5:30:48 Larry Benge, Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (oppose)
5:36:55 Dan Rothwell (support)
5:39:49 James Evans, Heritage Commission (concern about heritage incentives being weakened)
5:46:27 Ryan Campbell (support)
6:00:23 Khang Nguyen, Architrix Design Studio (support)
6:06:17 Bobo Eyrich (support)
6:11:49 Mo Zatar (support)
6:13:48 Marcus Lalonde (support)
6:19:08 Ian Robertson (support)
6:23:35 Elizabeth Murphy (oppose)
6:28:35 Devon Hussak (support)
6:33:05 Questions from council to staff
7:00:13 Amendments (staff to report back on excluding elevator from FSR, updating heritage incentives)
Vancouver City Council indicates support for sweeping expansion of housing density. Frances Bula, Globe and Mail.
'A huge step forward' or not enough? Vancouver approves citywide multiplex plan. Dan Fumano, Vancouver Sun.
Vancouver City Council approves up to eight homes on single-family lots. Kenneth Chan, Daily Hive.
Commentary noting the lack of ambition:
Blame Trudeau for housing, sure – but the real fault belongs to your local mayor. Globe editorial. Describes Vancouver’s multiplex plan as “not nothing, but close to it.”
Opinion: Vancouver's governing party needs to do much more on the housing front. Peter Waldkirch, Daily Hive.
Video: Alex Hemingway interview on CBC.
Surprisingly, Pierre Poilievre and Scott Aitchison praised Vancouver after council passed this very modest policy. I thought Poilievre’s plan was to pressure municipalities, and especially big cities where housing is especially scarce, into allowing more housing?
Ken Sim struck a triumphalist note:
We are taking bold action to address this housing crisis. Tonight we took a huge step forward to increase housing attainability and build more homes faster, by allowing multiplexes across all low density residential zones in the City of Vancouver.
Yes, yes, yes!
Thank you @KenSimCity and your Council for doing this!
Scott, I love you but this is a hugely poison pilled policy that will build AT BEST a few hundred homes per year BY DESIGN. This is not something to be celebrating or congratulating Vancouver on.
And Justin McElroy:
this did happen, but also staff admitted that due to the regulations only a few hundred new units would likely be created each year, so "bold" and "huge" are somewhat contestable adjectives here