Neighbourhood groups call for more consultation ahead of Vancouver housing report

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A coalition of Vancouver nighbourhood groups is calling for more public consultation before a report on the city’s housing strategy goes to council.

On Tuesday, Vancouver City Council is set to receive the 10-year Housing Vancouver Strategy and 3-year Action Plan report, which lays out an ambitious plan to add 72,000 homes to the city over the next decade.

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The plan includes efforts to increase density in wealthier neighbourhoods like Kerrisdale, by adding as many as 10,000 townhouses and infill units like laneway homes.

The strategy aims to add more than 45,000 new rental units, and calls for initiatives to link the cost of housing to local incomes.

A graphic shows the City of Vancouver’s “New housing targets by type,” as contained in the “Housing Vancouver” strategy. City of Vancouver

But Larry Benge with the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods, which represents 27 individual residents’ groups, said the proposal needs work.

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“We take issue with the overriding idea that new supply of housing will create more affordability and solve the affordability problem,” he said.

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Benge said he questions why real estate and rental prices continue to skyrocket amid record new housing starts in the city.

The group is not opposed to densification, Benge said, but wants individual neighbourhoods to have their say in any final decisions.

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“In where that density is, what type it is, and how it’s implemented in their particular neighbourhoods,” he said.

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“What they’re proposing is to override community plans and community visions.”

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Benge said densification should fit a neighbourhood’s current character, and that the coalition is asking the city to move forward on a neighbourhood by neighbourhood basis.

A spokesperson for the city said that if council does approve the report, city officials will hold further consultations to collect public feedback.

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