Help Get Moderate Income Rental Homes Approved at Broadway & Alma!

Are you or your children renters, or will they be soon? Are other loved ones or friends struggling to stay in Vancouver? This apartment building is for you! It will have 161 secured rental homes, including 20% (by floor area) reserved permanently for moderate incomes earning between $30,000 and $80,000.

TL;DR: This building will improve affordability in Vancouver, as well as access to jobs and public transit. It is at risk because people in wealthy neighbourhoods are very organized in their opposition to new buildings, especially buildings that are larger (i.e. include more homes), and several city councillors have recently started trying to delay most housing initiatives. To support, speak at the public hearing this Tuesday, October 27th, and/or write in via the City's online comment form. Don’t know what to say? Here's the basics, read on for more:

Subject: 3701-3743 West Broadway

Position: Support

Comments: Whatever you like, the more specific & personal the better! It can be as simple as "We need much more rental in West Point Grey / near UBC / in this City. The housing crisis is now; this project must be approved and not delayed" Read below to find out some of the reasons this is a great proposal that should be replicated many times over.

Why Vancouver needs these apartments and many more like it:

1. Centrally Located - By public transit, these homes will be 30 minutes to UBC and 30 minutes right to Waterfront Station. By bike, they are 15 minutes to UBC, 30 minutes to Waterfront Station downtown.

2. Zero Displacement - Wealthy, low-density neighbourhoods need to stop pushing people out through no growth or slow growth planning policies. It's socially bad, forces people in less affluent neighbourhoods to compete with West Point Grey's wealthy children for housing, and makes thousands of people have longer commutes. This proposal is exactly where we should be building much more housing, and this building will not displace any current tenants!

WPG is 4% of Vancouver's land in a central, amenity-rich location, but has only 2% of people.

WPG has half the population density of the rest of Vancouver.

WPG has the 3rd highest incomes in Vancouver but too many people are still paying too much for housing.

WPG is one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in the city, but far too many people can't afford the rent.

3. Moderate Income Homes - While building more market rental homes helps to increase affordability through increased supply, these moderate income homes will help keep people in their neighbourhood who can't afford market rents today (and long into the future). To meet the targets set out in the Housing Vancouver Strategy, the City needs to approve about 573 moderate income homes per year over the next 8 years, roughly 19 buildings like this per year. The need for "missing middle" housing is great, and City Council needs to be pushed to do much more much faster. This project is a step in the right direction.

The City is behind on rental targets and way behind on moderate income rental

 

4. It's a nice-looking building! - All rezoning proposals in Vancouver also have to meet the City's highest energy-efficiency requirements. From City staff: "This application is required to satisfy the Green Buildings Policy for Rezonings and is pursuing the low emissions green buildings requirement." As City Duo reported, the Urban Design Panel supported this proposal for being well-designed, appropriate for the location, and for supporting mixed income neighbourhoods (a "core value" of Vancouver).

5. Access to Jericho Beach Park - This is a great location for renters as it gives easy access not just to jobs & schools but to city's parks and beaches!

Jericho Beach

6. Precedent - Council has already approved similar projects on Broadway and in East Van. Allowing mid-rise towers is what makes the moderate income component of these apartment buildings financially viable. It's time for the wealthy West Side to start doing it's part so that all newcomers aren't pushed into the same, more affordable central and East Van neighbourhoods.

7. Support Local Businesses - Rising costs and a shrinking customer base make it difficult for local businesses to survive. Bringing more people, including young people with children, will help revitalize the area.

What Can You Do?

Unfortunately, future renters are at the mercy of a public hearing process that mostly gives a voice to vested interests, like nearby landlords who don’t want competition and don't mention their obvious conflict-of-interest. But you can speak at the public hearing to voice your support for more homes in more places in the city, especially for moderate incomes and especially near jobs, UBC, and frequent public transit.

  1. Click here to sign up to speak at the hearing this Tuesday, October 27th. This is the most effective way to let Council know we need more rental housing in transit and jobs-rich locations. Generally it is best to make your comments as personal as possible, tell Council why apartments like these are important to you and your family/friends/etc. Note: speakers are currently asked to phone in (social-distancing); this is a great opportunity to speak without having to face a crowd and from the convenience of your own home!
  2. You can also write in to support by commenting online.
  3. This project is just one of many that are needed to meaningfully address our housing crisis. Join our mailing list using the form on the right side of this page to keep abreast of important and embattled policies and projects. (And don't worry, we don't send emails very often)

Sample Comment:

Subject: 3701-3743 West Broadway

Position: Support

Possible Comments:

- I would like to live in West Point Grey someday. My partner and I earn a moderate income and could afford a 1 bedroom for $1200. I like the rooftop amenity space, and it would be easy for me to get to work and for my partner to get to school at UBC. Homes like these are badly needed now, please approve this ASAP and then more.

- I support this proposal because Vancouver has a very low vacancy rate and rents are too high. I live in the West End but many of my friends cannot find affordable rentals and are moving away. I like that this proposal will add more trees to the street, and on the building itself. Council should approve this and dozens more like it.

- I am a homeowner in the area and I would like my children to be able to stay closer. This project is the type of housing they need to be able to afford to stay and build a life in Vancouver. I am also concerned about the viability of my favourite local businesses with rising costs and fewer customers to support them. Please approve this project, and keep approving rental at least until market rents are affordable to typical residents and families.

FAQ

What is this project? 161 rental homes, with 32 permanently affordable homes for people earning moderate incomes.

Why should I support this project? It allows low income residents to live in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the city which has successfully lobbied against change for decades, and addresses a critical need for more affordable housing in our city. New market rate housing helps to take pressure off of the existing rental stock as higher-income newcomers won't all be competing for the same existing apartments as current tenants.

Could I live here when the project is complete? Yes! After the project is completed, if your income is below a certain threshold you would be eligible to apply to live in one of the new suites.

Why couldn't this be shorter/smaller? Land is expensive in Vancouver, and if the building was shorter or smaller it wouldn't be possible to provide affordable homes. Building more homes all over the city is the only way to keep market rents from rising.

Why does it need my help? Residents in wealthy neighbourhoods generally strongly oppose any development due to perceived impacts like parking and neighbourhood character. They've killed projects before, and this project is receiving an almost unprecedented level of push back.

How can I help? Writing a 30 second comment sharing your support means a lot to councillors and will help the project be approved.

References:

City's Rezoning page: https://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/3701-3743wbroadway/

Frequently Asked Questions about the MIRHPP program (from CoV): https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/mirhpp-public-faqs.pdf

Charts in this post are from the West Point Grey Social Indicators Profile: https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/social-indicators-profile-west-point-grey.pdf


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  • Owen Brady