Broadway Plan Survey Key Points & Walk-Through

Survey Closes March 31st

The "Phase 2" consultation for the Broadway Plan has been posted with a detailed survey that is open until the end of March. The Emerging Directions give a general, if vague, idea of the kinds of land use changes currently expected for the many sub-areas in the Broadway Plan. The Broadway Plan area stretches from Clark in the East to Vine in the West, with sub-areas for Mt. Pleasant, Fairview, and Kitsilano.

Broadway Plan Simple Map of "Character Areas"

The Broad Strokes of the Broadway Plan

The Good

The Emerging Directions have a strong focus on protecting tenants and maintaining affordability. The Plan will consider detached and duplex (RS/RT) zones that were previously off-limits, to help create new apartments where the risk of displacement of renters is the lowest. The large Queen Elizabeth Park view cone that greatly restricts development in the area will be reviewed to ensure that Broadway can add enough height to function as Vancouver's 'second downtown' while maintaining affordability. In Commercial "villages", including busy arterial Main Street, an approach similar to the West End will be pursued, where the lower scale of the commercial high street is maintained in favour of adding housing off-arterial (in the residential areas, because housing is residential!).

The Not as Good

The plan alludes to a highly incremental approach that may not work in practice. Making big promises about affordability and public realm improvements requires much bigger change in what types of housing are allowed, for two reasons. First, maintaining market affordability (the vast majority of existing housing is market-rate) requires building enough to satiate the strong demand to live in a vibrant, central and growing area like this. Secondly, increases in allowed floor-space and height are what create the "land-lift" that allows the City to raise money for improvements, social housing, and below-market rental. An incremental approach intended to reduce speculation will more likely result in too little housing, too late, and thus continued spiraling rents combined with only modest increases in the number of below-market homes. The 2016 Grandview-Woodland Plan also pursued a policy of incremental increases in height in many areas, and has so far achieved 0% of its population growth target!

Survey Walk-through / Cheat Sheet

The survey is rather long, but you can choose how much of it you want to do. To make sure you can finish, you may want to skip one or two neighbourhoods so that you can focus on the ones you are interested in. With that, it's time to open the survey in a new tab and click "Read More" below to get started!

Intro Questions

The first questions regard the general directions for the four types of 'character areas' identified: Villages (low-rise commercial), Residential Areas, Centres, and Industrial/Employment Areas. Some possible responses are as follows.

1. Villages  See board 14 for more details.

Map of Villages (low-rise commercial)

Over all, what do you think of the emerging directions for the Villages? Like them

How do you think the directions could be improved? Is there anything you think is missing? Possible responses:

- Limiting new residential development to "support the viability of existing businesses" is counterproductive as residential development provides customers for these businesses. The solution is to complement low-rise commercial streets by building bigger off of these commercial streets.

2. Residential Areas  See board 15 for more details.

Map of Residential Areas

Overall? Don’t like them.

How do you think the directions could be improved? Is there anything you think is missing? Possible Responses:

- The directions appear unambitious and unlikely to achieve affordability goals.

- Social housing needs subsidy from market rate development to be viable. The plan should rely as little as possible on additional funding from the Province to achieve social housing goals, as this would likely be taking resources from other social housing projects instead of creating more, and is not assured to be available.

- New rental developments should be large increases in density, to allow for below market rental to be created, so that there is space created for people who would otherwise be priced out due to renovation, renewal, and just needing to move for personal reasons.

- Affordability requires availability; an affordability strategy that relies on no one ever moving is bound to fail.

- Include opportunities for mass timber development, i.e. above 6 storeys.

- The most intensive redevelopment should happen in detached and duplex areas, and where condos are now. Combine this with better relocation options for tenants even if it makes re-development of rental buildings financially nonviable.

- Intensification and amenity contributions to allow the creation of new parks, especially in Fairview, is also a concern. With so much need for homes, below market housing and other amenities, 10,000 to 15,000 homes is simply not enough for a core neighbourhood with growing job space in a city that is trying to reduce carbon emissions and create walkable neighbourhoods while not displacing anyone.

3. Centres  See board 16 for more details 

Map of (Transit) Centres

Overall, what do you think of the emerging directions for the Centres? Like them

How do you think the directions could be improved? Is there anything you think is missing? Possible responses:

- The centres should radiate more concentrically out from the stations instead of being so aligned with Broadway and existing development patterns, so as to allow more homes and jobs.

- Trying to create incremental increases in already built-up areas has not worked well, e.g. in the Grandview-Woodland Plan where very little new rental has been proposed in the few areas that allow it. It is also a lot harder to prevent displacement and fund amenities when replacing 10-storey buildings with 20 storeys than going from 2 to 20 storeys. The view cones should be relaxed to allow taller buildings near all stations, and to allow taller buildings downtown.

- Affordable housing and grocery stores need to be allowed broadly, not just in 'strategic' locations, nor does the City need to dictate the size of grocery stores.

4. Industrial/Employment Areas  See board 17 for more details.

Industrial Areas

Overall, what do you think of the Industrial/Employment Areas? Like them

How do you think the directions could be improved? Is there anything you think is missing? Some possible responses:

- The directions are vague enough that it is hard to know what they mean in practice.

- Office uses over industrial, especially light industrial, in much taller buildings, would be a good way to increase space for innovative industries.

- Arts & cultural spaces and breweries, especially tasting rooms, should be allowed and enabled in commercial and residential areas as well.

- Having more convenient storage options in residential areas, like bigger apartments, would help take demand for self-storage away from industrial land so that it is used for job space.

- Small community orgs, e.g. "maker spaces" and shared practice space for musicians, would be nice to encourage as well, and in some cases could even be a shared space for businesses, e.g. manufacturing prototypes.

- Artist lofts are nice and should be encouraged. In taller industrial/office buildings, these might be a good way to raise amenity contribution dollars while providing flexible space for artists and entrepreneurs?

Specific Neighbourhood Questions - Kitsilano Example

Each neighbourhood in the survey has similar questions for each sub-area. Here are some possible responses for residential and village areas in Kits.

1. Apartment Residential Area - Kitsilano North See board 21 for more details

Future Desired Role: Strengthen Kitsilano North as a walkable primarily residential area with diverse housing options by providing strategic opportunities for new affordable housing, while encouraging retention and renewal of existing older rental housing.

How well do these directions reflect what you’d like to see in the Kitsilano North sub-area in the future? Not well

How do you think the directions for this sub-area could be improved? Is there anything missing?

- It is very unlikely that "in all cases, affordability will be maintained and renters will be supported so they are not displaced from the area." Severe restraints on viable development will lead to quickly rising market rents (this is already happening).

- Redevelopment opportunities should be broadly distributed and allow much large increases in building form, to enable better tenant protections and also prevent market displacement and renovictions by increasing the overall supply of rental housing, especially in current RS/RT zones.

- There is an opportunity to help meet the city’s climate goals through allowing 12-storey mass timber apartments and adding much more housing in a walk-able, transit-rich location.

2. Village Area - West 4th Village  See board 22 for more details

Future Desired Role: Strengthen West 4th Village as an eclectic shopping street with a diversity of local businesses where locals and visitors alike can shop, work and play.

How well do these directions reflect what you’d like to see in the West 4th Village sub-area in the future? Fairly Well

How do you think the directions for this sub-area could be improved? Is there anything missing?

- Limiting new residential development to "support the viability of existing businesses" is counterproductive as residential development provides customers for these businesses. The solution is to complement low-rise commercial streets by building bigger off of these commercial streets.

- Public space improvements should be paired with and enabled by more intensive residential developments with commercial uses on the lower floor(s).

3. Centre - Broadway/Arbutus South  See boards 23-24 for more details.

Future Desired Role: Strengthen Broadway/Arbutus South as a vibrant, walkable mixed-use area close to rapid transit by providing opportunities for additional housing (particularly secured rental and social housing), job space, amenities and local-serving commercial uses.

How well do these directions reflect what you’d like to see in Broadway/Arbutus South sub-area in the future? Fairly well

How do you think the directions could be improved? Is there anything you think is missing?

- Encourage much higher forms for social, rental, and market-rate ownership housing, especially on existing condo or commercial building lots, combined with enhanced tenant protections to ensure that no one is displaced while availability of housing is increased.

4. RS/RT (Single-Family &/or Duplex) Residential Area - Kitsilano South  See board 25 for more details

Future Desired Role: Enhance Kitsilano South as a primarily residential area with more diverse housing options by providing opportunities for new rental housing, including off-arterial locations, while fostering a mix of building types as the area grows and evolves.  

How well do these directions reflect what you’d like to see in Kitsilano South sub-area in the future? Fairly well

How do you think the directions could be improved? Is there anything you think is missing?

- The most intensive redevelopment should happen in these duplex/single-family areas, combined with better relocation options for tenants, such as entitlements to below market rents. Displacement risk is the lowest here and the achievable net gains in available housing are the greatest. Increasing development here will be key to preventing displacement in other areas where apartments are more common.

- Social housing needs subsidy from market rate development to be viable. The plan should rely as little as possible on additional funding from the Province to achieve social housing goals, as this would likely be taking resources from other social housing projects instead of creating more, and is not assured to be available.

- New rental developments should be large increases in density, to create below-market rental, so that there is space created for people who would otherwise be priced out due to renovation, renewal, and just needing to move for personal reasons.

- Include opportunities for mass timber development, i.e. above 6 storeys, to help increase housing availability and to meet climate goals.

Specific Issue Questions

You can respond to any of the specific issue emerging directions you want. Here are a couple of samples.

At Home (Housing)

Overall, what do you think of the emerging directions for “At Home”? See boards 54-58. Really like them

How can they be improved? Is there anything missing?

- The plan is not nearly ambitious enough in adding housing to the Broadway plan area as a whole.

- It is not clear that the tenant protections/relocation described will be achievable without much greater (fewer 'modest') increases in density.

Sustainability and Resilience

Overall, what do you think of the emerging directions for “Sustainability and Resilience”? See boards 89 -90. Really Like them

How can they be improved? Is there anything missing?

- Quick start actions. There is already not enough time to meet the ambitious 2030 Climate Emergency Action Plan goals. Emerging directions from the Broadway Plan need to start getting implemented in some areas now, before the plan is completely finalized.

- The biggest thing that Vancouver can do for the climate is allow more housing close to jobs in the city. People commuting from and between suburban and exurban municipalities will create a much larger carbon footprint for the metro as a whole. The Broadway Plan should be much more ambitious in creating new housing opportunities, including in surrounding areas that are currently mostly low density and not walkable.

Good luck! Let us know your thoughts on the Emerging Directions on Facebook, IG or Twitter!


Showing 1 reaction

  • Owen Brady