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Vancouver unveils long-term plan to increase density, improve affordability by 2050

Click to play video: 'Vancouver’s unveils densification plan' Vancouver’s unveils densification plan
Vancouver has unveiled its plan for how the city will grow in the coming decades. Global News Morning speaks with City Planner Theresa O'Donnell about Vancouver's long-term plans to manage population growth, and improve affordability. – Apr 6, 2022

More density and economic opportunities in all Vancouver neighbourhoods will help improve affordability and livability by 2050, according to the city’s long-in-the-works draft Vancouver Plan released Tuesday.

The broad-strokes document lays out staff’s plan for redrawing land use throughout the city to allow for different types of housing, as well as more commercial and community services, meant to tackle “uneven patterns” of development in different neighbourhoods.

The goal is to prepare for what staff predicts will be 260,000 more people moving to Vancouver over the next 30 years, allowing new and existing residents to acquire affordable housing across the city.

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Staff embarked on creating the Vancouver Plan in 2019, conducting extensive public consultation and reviews. The draft plan’s results reflect broad public opinion in all neighbourhoods, staff noted.

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The plan, if adopted by council, would pave the way for land use to be redrawn to allow mixed use, purpose-built rental and social housing in nearly every part of the city. Multiplexes and townhomes will target the so-called “missing middle” who are currently unable to afford a home in Vancouver, which continues to have the highest home prices and rental rates in Canada.

The introduction of mixed residential and commercial land use in lower-density neighbourhoods will also expand economic opportunities beyond the downtown core and other economic hubs, the plan says, noting half of the city’s jobs are concentrated on just 10 per cent of the city’s land. Conversely, the plan states only 15 per cent of Vancouver housing consumes more than half of city land.

The plan would lead to more “complete neighbourhoods,” according to staff, allowing residents to access businesses, services, amenities and even economic opportunities within their own communities.

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Vancouver mayor re-floats ‘sixplex’ proposal – Jan 25, 2022

Staff say the new plan could allow residents to work within their own communities or nearby, noting that currently 40 per cent of local jobs are held by people who commute to work from the suburbs.

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A new round of public consultation on the draft plan is set to be held throughout April. Staff will then refine and craft the final version of the plan, which is set to be presented to council in June.

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If council were to approve the adoption of the plan, the goal is to implement its objectives through an official development plan bylaw within the next two years. That plan would make many of the goals outlined in the Vancouver Plan enforceable, including changing land use rules.

Yet staff admitted Tuesday that the plan could be repealed if a new council were to be voted into office in October’s municipal election.

Staff said they have spent between $7-9 million of their $11-million budget for the Vancouver Plan so far.

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