In April, Vancouver City Council quietly pushed through a motion to amend its requirements for zoning districts classified as RM or residential multi-family to allow buildings of six storeys, earmarked as social housing, to bypass the rezoning process completely, to skip public hearings, and go straight to a development application.
There was absolutely no consultation with the communities that would be impacted by the motion and only a very narrow window available to accept any public input.
Aside from this appalling lack of consideration, the City has no agreed-upon, transparent definition of what constitutes ‘social housing’ and remains uninterested in agreeing upon one.
We now have learned that on May 18, Council will vote on a motion to hold a public hearing on extending those recommendations to buildings of up to 12 storeys.
The motion by OneCity councillor Christine Boyle calls for changes in RM-3A, RM-4, and RM-4N zoning districts that would allow for such developments, where 100% of the residential floor area will be developed for social housing. What does this mean? Much of our neighbourhood is in this zoning, and we will have no say about a massive density increase.
The motion also directs city staff to prepare recommendations to allow for additional height and density for social housing in Vancouver’s multi-family residential areas.
The City clearly views Vancouverites who live in these neighbourhoods as nothing more than impediments to imposing their policy vision. The City had no problem approving a 5% increase in property taxes for 2021. Yet, it demonstrates no interest in listening to the people who pay Vancouver’s bills.
It’s not democratic.
This motion must not pass. Buildings of this height and density must go through the existing public process and not be allowed to circumvent the current rezoning requirements.
Perhaps the City needs to be reminded of that old adage “no taxation without representation”. This current Mayor and Council seem to forget they were elected to represent the interests of all Vancouverites.
Kitsilano residents must contact Mayor Stewart, members of the city Council and Theresa O’Donnell, chief city planner, and let their opinions be known. Because they’re certainly not going to ask us.