VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Vancouver is taking aim at the single family home. Hoping to make housing more affordable in this region, the city has released its own housing strategy — just one day after Ottawa came out with its own for the entire country.
Vancouver says its plan will see 72,000 new homes constructed over the next decade by increasing density in typically low-density neighbourhoods. “Census data released this year showed a decline in overall population and children in neighbourhoods like Dunbar, Kerrisdale and Arbutus Ridge,” says the city in a statement.
That means more townhomes, rowhouses, laneway homes and apartments in areas dominated by single detached homes, while maintaining and increasing rental stock.
“We’ve heard loud and clear that Vancouverites expect us to address the fact that vast areas of low-density neighbourhoods are unaffordable for all but the very wealthy, with many of them seeing a decline in families and kids. With the new Housing Vancouver strategy, we can transform our low-density, single-family neighbourhoods with more duplexes and triplexes, more townhouses and rowhouses, and more low-rise apartments and make sure every neighbourhood across Vancouver is filled with families and kids,” says Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.
He adds Housing Vancouver includes a comprehensive strategy to cut down on speculation in real estate, as well as pushing ahead with things like the Empty Homes Tax, regulating short-term rentals, and continued advocacy for a provincial speculation tax.
A team has been assembled to review city-wide regulations while implementing zoning changes starting next year, allowing multiple homes to be built on a single lot including duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes, with multiple suites.
“Housing and affordability must reflect the diversity of our residents and support those most in need of housing,” says Gil Kelley, General Manager, Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability. “Our Housing Vancouver strategy lays the groundwork for change in our city to increase the variety of housing options — the right homes Vancouver residents need and can afford.”
What Vancouver plans to do next
- Identifying areas close to parks, schools, public amenities and main streets for new townhomes and low-rise apartment developments
- Expanding more affordable housing options in communities by initiating planning around shopping areas and neighbourhood centres
- Providing more family housing options by exploring and promoting apartment developments with townhouses with front doors on the ground floor
- Investigating regulatory changes and further incentives for diverse new developments through parking reductions and car sharing
Yesterday, the federal government announced its strategy which is made up of $40 billion worth of commitments to create or improve affordable housing, and help struggling Canadians find a home.
The government is also planning to create a new benefit to help low-income tenants pay the rent. “Over time, we expect this benefit to support more than 300,000 households across the country,” says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
While it is a lot of money, much of it won’t start flowing until after the 2019 election and the feds are relying on the provinces and private sector to pick up some of the tab.
Robertson says he’s relieved and grateful for the plan. After being elected in 2008, he promised to get rid of homelessness in Vancouver by the year 2015.