Attend an Open House to Push for More Apartments in Vancouver

Vancouver City Council is considering some changes to the city's policies for new rental housing. More new apartments are desperately needed to improve availability and stop rents for existing apartments from spiraling upwards. Your voice is needed to make sure these policies get approved!

What You Can Do

  1. Attend an Open House/Information Session to give City staff your feedback (see dates and locations below). Tell them that the incentives don't go far enough, e.g. 6-storey apartments should be allowed anywhere within 400m of schools, parks, commercial/transit nodes


    From https://www.thepunctuationguide.com/em-dash.html
    © 2020 thepunctuationguide.com


    From https://www.thepunctuationguide.com/em-dash.html
    © 2020 thepunctuationguide.com
    —not just near the busiest, most-polluted streets—and this should be pre-zoned with less parking.
  2. Share our Facebook event on your timeline/Instagram/Twitter. Let your friends know which open house you're attending!
  3. Sign up for our mailing list to stay informed of progress. Just fill out the form on this page and click "Join".
  4. Donate to help us reach more people. Even $5 allows us to boost an event for a day.

What's Being Considered

There are several policy changes under consideration, but a key one is that the city will allow apartment buildings off of major streets for the first time, as long as they are within 400m of parks, schools, or commercial nodes. But there are some big limitations:

  1. Apartments off major streets will be limited to only 4 storeys. This makes it very difficult for apartments to compete with luxury detached houses.
  2. Apartments will only be allowed where the entire block is within 150m of a major street.
  3. Underground parking requirements are expensive and create the need for multiple side-by-side lots to be combined in a "land assembly", which substantially raises the cost of land for apartments (but not for McMansions).
  4. Anywhere with a recent community plan or one in progress—which includes all areas near downtown and the Canada Line—are NOT included in these policies at all.
  5. This is not being done as "pre-zoning"; individual projects will have to apply for a lengthy, expensive and risky rezoning process that ultimately raises the cost of housing for everyone.

When you add up all these restrictions, not much housing may actually get built. And that's not good, because Vancouver Council is 48% behind on the 10 year housing target for purpose-built rental. Council needs to approve apartments 2x faster than the pace of the last 2 years just to avoid falling further behind, and make up for the current shortfall on top of that.

C-2 and Transition Zones Map

Open House Dates and Locations:

Tuesday, March 3, 4pm to 7pm 
Killarney Community Centre, 6260 Killarney St   Add to calendar

Thursday, March 5, 5pm to 7pm 
Dunbar Community Centre, 4747 Dunbar St   Add to calendar

Monday, March 9, 4pm to 7pm 
CityLab, 511 W Broadway   Add to calendar

Tuesday, March 10, 4pm to 7pm 
Hastings Community Centre, 3096 East Hastings St   Add to calendar

Wednesday, March 11, 4pm to 7pm 
Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, 2305 West 7th Ave   Add to calendar

Thursday, March 12, 4pm to 7pm 
Polish Hall, 4015 Fraser St   Add to calendar

Tuesday, March 17, 4pm to 6:30pm 
Sunset Community Centre, 6810 Main St   Add to calendar

You can read more about these "Rental Incentive" policies at the City's web page.

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Finances

We at Abundant Housing Vancouver get a fair number of questions about our finances. Here's the short answer to most questions: we are a self-funded organization on a small budget, and we do not accept funding from real estate organizations.

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Duplex Mania!

Please take a minute and let council know that you do not think banning duplexes is worth diverting staff resources, or spending $175K of public dollars. Please share this email widely and ask your friends, families, and network to do the same.

UPDATE - ON Dec 19, council received the staff report and elected to stay the course.  Duplexes will remain an option in almost all of RS-1.  RS-1 is the zoning district that occupies more land than any other district, while banning more types of housing than any other district.  Thankfully it's now just a tiny bit less restrictive and we look forward to seeing many more options in future.  Thank you top everyone who wrote in!

If you missed the chance to write in, you can still use the instructions below to say "Thanks!" and express your support for allowing neighbourhoods to welcome people of all incomes who want to live there.

Duplex

Allowing two families to share a house is literally the smallest possible step we could take toward more housing choice in our city.

However even this step is too big for some. This Tuesday, Dec 18, council will consider a report on costs ($175K!) to re-institute the duplex ban. Council could then decide to refer the proposed ban to a divisive public hearing, delaying the new city wide plan.  Alternately they could simply accept the report and move on, asking city staff to stay focused on beginning the city wide planning process.

Abundant Housing Vancouver feels the latter choice is the the best answer and we hope you do too.

We need a lot more housing options than just duplexes, so let’s get to work legalizing more, not fewer.

How to Email Mayor and Council

You can email them as a group with this list:

kennedy.stewart@vancouver.ca, CLRbligh@vancouver.ca, CLRboyle@vancouver.ca, CLRcarr@vancouver.ca, CLRdegenova@vancouver.ca, CLRdominato@vancouver.ca, CLRfry@vancouver.ca, CLRhardwick@vancouver.ca, CLRkirby-yung@vancouver.ca, CLRswanson@vancouver.ca, CLRwiebe@vancouver.ca, makingroom@vancouver.ca, info@abundanthousingvancouver.com

Or use the city's online contact form 

Here’s a template you can copy & paste or edit to your liking. However, even a single line is enough, expressing opposition to re-opening the duplex issue.

Subject: Duplexes are fine, let’s move on

Dear Mayor and Council
I oppose the effort to ban duplexes in most neighbourhoods. Let’s concentrate our planning resources on creating a city-wide plan that brings back our families and friends, while ensuring renters and the vulnerable are not pushed out. We need more housing options, not fewer. Duplexes will not work for everyone but they are a tiny step to making the most restrictive, most exclusive land in our city more welcoming.

Reasons I feel we should move forward, not backward:

  • Thousands of Vancouver residents engaged with the Vancouver Housing Strategy that ultimately recommended legalizing duplexes as a first “quick step” to providing more housing. We should not disregard their participation.
  • Keeping duplexes legal will allow a few hundred more families per year to share in our great neighbourhoods.
  • Keeping duplexes legal sends a message to exclusionists that the starting point for city plan, the most that we’ll restrict future housing options, will be duplexes.
  • A city-wide plan has the potential to be truly representative, in a way that public hearings cannot. Let’s keep moving forward with a city-wide plan rather than allow privileged groups to control the process.
  • Spending $175K to forbid a form of housing is a waste of public funds.
  • The city-wide planning process that council has just recently initiated should be staff’s focus, not policing what kind of housing Vancouverites choose to live in.
  • Staff has suggested that duplexes could be considered for the next year as a trial. At the very minimum, this path would be prudent and avoid completely disregarding all the effort and consultation that has already gone into the duplex initiative.
  • I would like to live in a duplex with my family or friends one day!
  • I want the people who might choose duplexes to have that option rather than leaving the city or moving into lower income neighbourhoods

Thank you

 

Background

Agenda for Tuesday, Dec 18

Staff Report: “Costs of Consultation, Time Constraints and Impacts of Pursuing By-law Amendments to Remove Two-family Dwellings (Duplex) from RS Zones”

AHV board member Stuart Smith speaking in opposition to banning duplexes (6:15)

1931 zoning map - just after zoning was introduced, duplexes where allowed everywhere that single family was allowed!

Meanwhile Minneapolis just legalized triplexes…

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Vancouver Election Housing Questionnaire 2018 - Parties for Council & Mayor

Housing is the critical issue in the City of Vancouver municipal election this year. Abundant Housing Vancouver sent a questionnaire to all candidates inquiring about their policies to address the housing shortage. We wish to thank all the candidates who responded. While we are expecting more responses to come in soon, we've received enough to warrant publishing those received thus far. Check back soon for more entries!

Responses we have received from political parties running for Council and Mayor are posted in full below:

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Vancouver Election Housing Questionnaire 2018 - Independents for Mayor

Housing is the critical issue in the City of Vancouver municipal election this year. Abundant Housing Vancouver sent a questionnaire to all candidates inquiring about their policies to address the housing shortage. We wish to thank all the candidates who responded. While we are expecting more responses to come in soon, we've received enough to warrant publishing those received thus far. Check back soon for more entries!

Responses we have received from independent candidates running for Mayor are posted in full below:

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Vancouver Election Housing Questionnaire 2018 - Independents for Council

Housing is the critical issue in the City of Vancouver municipal election this year. Abundant Housing Vancouver sent a questionnaire to all candidates inquiring about their policies to address the housing shortage. We wish to thank all the candidates who responded. While we are expecting more responses to come in soon, we've received enough to warrant publishing those received thus far. Check back soon for more entries!

Responses we have received from independent candidates running for Council are posted in full below:

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Priorities

Let’s talk about priorities.  

(or, Why you ought to be mad about what’s going on at 3030-3038 Commercial Drive)

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From wartime homes to student homes – Vancouver’s rocky start with secondary suites

Or: that time that Vancouver decided single-family zoning was more important than defeating Hitler

Secondary suites (often just "basement suites”, or ADUs) are an everyday part of Vancouver neighbourhoods now. Even before they were fully legalized in 2004, they provided a large amount of Vancouver’s low-cost housing stock.

The story I usually hear about suites goes like this: people started building a lot of unauthorized suites in Vancouver Specials in the 1970s and 1980s, and this set the stage for a long drawn-out political battle that eventually ended with suites being legalized.

It’s a good story, and it’s true! But Vancouver’s history with secondary suites goes back much further. People were trying to live in secondary suites – and Vancouver was trying to stop them – for a long time before the Vancouver Special.

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Halloween Update

Happy Halloween! 

It's that time of year again when ghosts & ghouls roam the streets in pursuit of candy, but it's also time for a housing update! 

On October 31, Council unanimously approved the Dunbar-Ryerson rezoning! Thanks to all of you who wrote in, appeared before council, or attended the February open house to help get this rare combination heritage conservation and quiet-street rental housing project approved.

Below are upcoming rallies, open houses, and hearings that need your attendance, speeches and letters of support to help more rental homes be created.  

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Pro-Housing Prevails

Abundant Housing Vancouver congratulates Hector Bremner, Vancouver’s newest city councillor.  We’re pleased that many candidates called for reforms to zoning in Vancouver, and many pointed out how zoning is used to ban apartments, townhomes, row homes and most other forms of housing from most neighborhoods.  We would like to thank all the candidates, campaign workers and volunteers who put long hours into making democracy in Vancouver work.  We’re happy that Hector Bremner’s repeated calls to end exclusionary zoning carried the day.

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