Vancouver council approves controversial 30-year Broadway Plan

Click to play video: 'Vancouver city council to vote on Broadway Plan on Wednesday' Vancouver city council to vote on Broadway Plan on Wednesday
Following months of debate and dozens of amendments, Vancouver City Council is once again set to vote on a contentious plan today - to densify the Broadway corridor over the next three decades. Emily Lazatin is at Vancouver City Hall monitoring the latest developments – Jun 22, 2022

After multiple marathon meetings stretched across weeks, hundreds of speakers and dozens of amendments, Vancouver city council approved the controversial Broadway Plan Wednesday evening.

The final vote broke seven to four, Mayor Kennedy Stewart and councillors Adrianne Carr, Pete Fry, Christine Boyle, Lisa Dominato, Sarah Kirby-Yung and Rebecca Bligh in favour.

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Councillors Melissa De Genova, Jean Swanson, Colleen Hardwick and Michael Wiebe were opposed.

Councillors approved more than two dozen amendments to the plan, including Stewart’s ambitious renter protection plan, and a separated bike line proposed by Boyle.

The 30-year plan to turn the bustling Broadway corridor between Clark Drive and Vine Street into Vancouver’s “second downtown” will create new housing, jobs and amenities around the $2.38-billion extension of the Millennium Line, slated for completion in 2025.

“Change is always difficult, but change is happening,” Coun. Pete Fry said earlier Wednesday.

“We’re a small city with a lot of density and we are seeing more and more people arriving, so there is going to be the inevitability of tower form in that area.”

Read more: Public hearings begin on Vancouver’s divisive Broadway Plan

The approved plan will allow redevelopment within nearly 500 city blocks in an area that is already considered the province’s second-largest employment corridor, and home to about a quarter of Vancouver’s existing purpose-built rentals.

Towers of up to 40 storeys could be built near transit stations, and towers between 20 to 30 storeys could be built in several central or shoulder areas. The city is aiming for 65 per cent of construction to be rental, with a quarter of that at below-market rates.

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Broadway Plan critics, however, have said the towers will displace current residents and result in increased rents throughout the neighbourhood.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver city council’s Broadway plan vote delayed to June 22' Vancouver city council’s Broadway plan vote delayed to June 22
Vancouver city council’s Broadway plan vote delayed to June 22 – Jun 10, 2022

Boyle said the plan will result in more new rental housing being built where it currently doesn’t exist, alleviating pressure on the market.

“It will allow current rental to stay in place and will build more rental in place of low-density housing,” she told Global News.

Ahead of the vote, Stewart promised the plan will come with “the strongest renter protections in Canada,” and that anyone who is displaced will receive help finding another unit, with the right to move to a new building at their original rent or better.

Read more: Vancouver Tenants Union fears Broadway Plan will lead to evictions, massive rent hikes

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At the meeting Wednesday, Carr said she has worked on an amendment with Fry to ensure the plan pursues “livability,” implementing it in phases, in collaboration with residents.

“My intention in working with Coun. Fry on this is really to ensure we don’t go down the path of rampant development, which will escalate land values with the proposals by developers to buy out and develop the currently affordable residential buildings in the plan area,” she explained.

Voting on the sweeping project was delayed earlier when councillors failed to get through dozens of plan amendments on the table at a June 9 meeting.

Click to play video: 'Possible relief for businesses impacted by Broadway Subway construction' Possible relief for businesses impacted by Broadway Subway construction
Possible relief for businesses impacted by Broadway Subway construction – Jun 18, 2022

They spent hours deliberating those amendments Wednesday, including one from Coun. Colleen Hardwick recommending the entire plan be taken off the table until after the fall municipal election. The motion also calls on city staff to adopt “human-scaled forms of development” that are affordable by local incomes.

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Parts of the motion were supported by Coun. Michael Wiebe, who said two First Nations impacted by the project were not involved, and Vancouver City Council can do better.

“There’s a lot of amazing work that went in here, I think there’s a lot of stuff we need to deal with. I think the amount of amendments … we don’t know what the plan is in front of us, and realistically, we haven’t had an Indigenous planner,” Wiebe said.

“I don’t think if the 30-year plan is pushed a few months to do it right (it’s) a bad thing.”

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