March 29, 2017 10:11 pm
Updated: March 29, 2017 10:12 pm

City of Vancouver looks to ‘reset’ housing strategy to better address affordability crunch

WATCH: Wed, Mar 29: With nearly 50,000 Vancouver renters recently spending more than 30 per cent of their income on housing, the city is poised to reset its housing strategy. Nadia Stewart explains how it would work.

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The 37 luxury condos under construction at the corner of West Boulevard and 49th Avenue are the kind of homes that Daniel Oleksiuk doesn’t even bother dreaming about owning.

“That dream’s gone away and now, you know, buying a two-bedroom seems nearly impossible and even renting is really hard for a lot of people,” he said.

It’s that sentiment — along with months of outcry from residents and advocates — that has prompted the city to rethink how it is tackling the issue of housing.

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“I think the most important element of their reset is recognizing that the existing housing stock — which is so heavily single-family homes which nobody can afford and condos which are too small for families usually — [isn’t] working,” Tom Davidoff of the Sauder School of Business said.

READ MORE: Could a ‘third housing sector’ help keep the middle class in Vancouver?

The plan is to increase supply to meet specific demands which includes increasing density near transit hubs, streamlining the proposal process for developers, and giving away city land with an aim to build targeted housing, and building more affordable rental units for low-income earners and families.

But it’s the talk of the future of single-family homes that could ruffle feathers.

“The population is declining, the average home price is like $3 million. I mean, a good question is, who are we zoning that for?” Oleksiuk said.

“Affluent areas that are in great locations should have the most density,” Davidoff said. “The more expensive the land, the bigger the building should be.”

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said the new directives come with both the promise of consultation and the need for greater commitments.

“Affordability really hinges on the B.C. government and the federal government contributing, so that we can deal with homelessness, we can deal with people on fixed incomes.

“We can build the supply and target it to that but we need those governments to contribute.”

— With files from Nadia Stewart

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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