The City of Vancouver passed what is broadly acknowledged to be an ambitious housing strategy on November 29th that will shape the future of housing in the City for the next decade and beyond. If implemented as envisioned two of the key outcomes will be a significant increase in rental housing supply and, densification in single-family neighbourhoods. Called the Housing Vancouver Strategy, the City has prepared a 3-year action plan which will move the broader strategy forward and that is what we will focus on in this information release.
LandlordBC has been a key stakeholder involved in the consultative process for the development of the Housing Vancouver Strategy since day-one. What is particularly exciting is that rental housing represents a full 2/3 of the 72,000 units of new housing supply that the City is targeting to bring on-stream over the next 10 years. LandlordBC is pleased to support the overarching goals of the strategy and will be actively continuing a dialogue with the City as it fine-tunes and implements the plan.
We note that one particular goal of the plan, pre-zoning for rental housing, will require legislative action from the Province. We believe that pre-zoning for rental housing (purpose-built rental in particular) is necessary in order to encourage the development of rental, to help close the risk/reward imbalance that persists between rental and condo development and, to temper continued land cost speculation/escalation that undermines the business case to build new purpose-built rental housing. We believe this tool is important not just for the City of Vancouver but, for all municipalities in BC, and will be advocating for this legislative change to Premier Horgan and Housing Minister Robinson with other stakeholders.
We will provide further updates in the future as they are available. We have included a link of the 3-year action plan for your review below and have extracted a few highlights as follows:
- Advance the transformation of low-density neighbourhoods by increasing rental, social and ground-oriented housing across the city and increasing housing near future transit hubs and arterials, beginning with the Broadway Corridor, Nanaimo Station, 29th Station and Olympic Village Station. A Laneway Innovation Challenge will advance innovative design thinking on integrating new infill housing in low-density neighbourhoods. A review of city-wide regulations to implement zoning changes will permit multiple homes on a single lot, and add townhouses and low-rise apartments in areas that have public amenities but have seen a decrease in families and children.
- Increase rental affordability for the over 50 per cent of households that rent by ensuring all existing rental homes remain affordable after redevelopment; preserving the existing 90,000 rental homes in Vancouver by lowering the trigger for one-for-one replacement of rentals from six units to three units so that more affordable homes are available to Vancouver renters. A new Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program will incentivize developers through density bonusing to build 100 per cent rental buildings where at least 20 per cent of the units are permanently affordable for households on low-incomes earning between $30,000 and $80,000 annually. The City also has a new target of 2,000 new co-op homes over the next decade. The City is targeting 20,000 new market rental homes. The City is studying a suite of incentives for the retention and enhancement of existing rental stock.
- Complete a comprehensive review of City processes for housing, rezoning and development to: simplify, streamline and clarify City approaches, remove discrepancies between bylaws, reduce processing times by adding more staff, and speed up the rezoning and Community Amenity Contributions (CAC) process by nearly 80 per cent for market rental development applications.
- Support diverse ways of living throughout Vancouver by permitting non-traditional housing such as collective housing by mending the Zoning and Development By-law to permit six or more unrelated roommates in single-family areas.
- Provide housing for homeless residents by requesting funding to build 1,200 units of temporary modular supportive housing on sites throughout Vancouver over the next two years. 600 units are already slated to be developed in the next 12 months through financing from the Provincial government, as part of our efforts to solve homelessness.
- Launch the new Social Purpose Real Estate Incentive Program to support non-profits and co-ops who own their land and buildings to redevelop and expand affordable housing.