There has been a lot of criticism against a rental development program that was introduced by Vision Vancouver.
Currently called Rental 100, it was touted by the now ex-ruling party as a measure to encourage the construction of affordable rental homes.
However, many have said that these rentals are anything but affordable.
In the past administration, Councillor Adriane Carr had called for an audit of Rental 100 and its predecessor, the Short Term Incentives for Rental or STIR.
Carr has returned to council after last month’s civic election, and Vision has been wiped out.
At its first regular meeting Tuesday (November 13), the new council is being asked by city staff to refer to public hearing two rezoning proposals under the same maligned Rental 100 program.
One is for 3532 East Hastings Street. According to a staff report, Gair Williamson Architects filed the application on behalf of 1077750 B.C. Ltd. to build 34 “for-profit affordable rental housing units”.
The rental homes will be on top of ground-level commercial spaces in a six-storey building.
“If approved, the application would contribute 34 for-profit affordable rental housing units towards achieving the City’s affordable housing goals as identified in the Housing Vancouver Strategy,” the report stated.
The proposed rents will start at the date of the public hearing: $1,496 for a studio; $2,505, two-bedroom unit; and $3,365, three-bedroom unit.
After the public hearing, the developer can increase rental rates yearly based on the rate allowed under provincial law.
This means that when the first tenants move in, rents at 3532 East Hastings Street will be higher than those initially considered by council.
According to the staff report, there is an existing rental building at the site.
Rents at the said building are $650 for a studio; $600-$700 for a one-bedroom unit; and $750-$850 for a two-bedroom unit.
Based on the Rental 100 program, the application qualifies for incentives like additional height and density, and a reduction in parking requirement.
The developer also qualifies for a waiver of the development cost levy for the residential component of the project, which is estimated at $573,310.
It’s the same story for 3435 East Hastings Street. Cornerstone Architecture filed the rezoning application on behalf of 51561 B.C. Ltd. (Steiner Properties Ltd.).
According to a staff report, the proposal involves a six-storey mixed-use building with commercial spaces on ground level, and 45 “for-profit affordable rental housing units”.
The “affordable” rents are: $1,496 for a studio; $1,730, one-bedroom unit; $2,505, two-bedroom; and $3,365, three-bedroom.
These rents start at the date of the public hearing. After the hearing, the developer can increase rents annually based on the rate allowed by the province.
When the first tenants move in, the rents will be higher than those indicated in the staff report.
The developer also qualifies for a development cost levy exemption of $776,212 for the residential component of the project.
“If approved, this application would make a contribution to the achievement of key housing goals of the City,” the staff report stated.
A staff report on Carr's suggested audit of Rental 100 is expected next spring.
It remains to be seen how the new council will decide proposed developments based on this Vision Vancouver program.