In a final push to get the Broadway development plan passed through Vancouver city council, Mayor Kennedy Stewart says amendments will be made to protect renters who would lose their home due to development.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday morning, Stewart said the development plan, which covers 500 square blocks in Vancouver, would start with developing areas where there are currently no renters.
Development would then move on to demolish and rebuild current buildings.
If a renter was forced to relocate, they would be protected by the “strictest protections for renters in the country,” according to Stewart.
“My amendments to the plan will guarantee that in the rare case any current renter must relocate, that person will have the choice of either being generously compensated for having to move to a new or home or have the right to return to a replacement building at rents at or below what they pay,” Stewart said.
The sweeping Broadway plan covers the area between Vine Street to the west and Clark Drive to the east. It is defined by 16th Avenue to the south and 1st Avenue to the north.
City councilors will vote on the plan next week.
The area currently is home to 25 per cent of all the renters in Vancouver.
If completed, the plan would add about 50,000 more residents to the area over the next three decades. Of the new residents, 70 per cent will be renters.
“It is no surprise those living along the corridor today are feeling anxious. Especially when professional lobbyists spread lies and pass around fantastical diagrams with no basis in fact,” Stewart said.
“If you believe, like I do that, renters are the soul of the city, like I do, that Vancouver must work for all of us and not just the wealthy few, then you need to support this plan.”
More than 100 people rallied at Vancouver City Hall on Saturday in opposition to the proposed Broadway plan.
The plan is meant to guide the next 30 years of development in an area set to be transformed by the completion of the Broadway subway from Commercial station to Broadway and Arbutus.
The plan would allow for towers up to 40 storeys near transit stations and of of 20 to 30 storeys in so-called ‘shoulder’ areas that have already seen some development.
Residential areas would see apartments up to six storeys on side streets and “strategic” buildings of 12 to 18 storeys if they have units below market rate.
“The concern we have is that we’ve somehow jumped to an unsustainable, unaffordable high-rise model, and it ain’t going to work,” architect and plan opponent Brian Palmquist told Global News on Saturday.
Strategist Bill Tieleman, who is also spearheading opposition to proposed towers on the Jericho lands, said the plan would create a “concrete canyon” in the Broadway corridor.
“We can increase density without building towers,” he said.
“The alternative is low-rise density, Paris bands, there’s no building in Paris higher than eight storeys in central Paris, Paris is a world city with metro stations and they don’t have 40-storey towers.”
–with files from Simon Little