August 9, 2017 5:46 pm

City of Vancouver admits towers get taller to secure affordable housing

File photo.


Vancouver’s Chief Planner is defending the increasing height and density of the city’s towers as a necessary measure to address the rental housing crunch.

This follows comments made last week by a local developer that residential towers in the city were getting too big:

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“We’re allowing buildings to get bigger and bigger and in some instances, buildings are getting too big for their site,” said developer Michael Geller.

READ MORE: Developer argues Metro Vancouver towers are getting too tall

Chief Planner Gil Kelley admitted that in order to secure rental and affordable housing, there have to be trade-offs, often in the form of higher density.

“We are raising density in the form of availability, but within the boundaries set under community plans.”

Last week Geller suggested municipalities like Vancouver received hundreds of millions from developers in exchange for height.

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But Kelley said he doesn’t see it that way.

“It’s not cowboy style negotiations. To earn your maximum height allowed under the plan you, the developer, need to provide a substantial amount of affordable housing and community benefits.”

READ MORE: Burnaby mayor defends Metrotown redevelopment as “the realities of the marketplace”

Kelley said there are still limits set under a plan, and added that developers need to earn the right to build higher.

Gil said residents can expect taller buildings around transit hubs and the downtown core, but added the city aims for mid-rise buildings in areas that are not along transit corridors.

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