A million square feet for new housing, commerce eyed in draft plan for Vancouver’s False Creek South

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      The False Creek South Neighbourhood Association has released a draft plan for the development of the Vancouver waterfront community.

      The plan calls for more than a million square feet for new housing and commercial spaces in one of the most sought-after neighbourhoods in the city.

      The draft also envisions gradual infill development in the 55-hectare enclave located between the Burrard and Cambie bridges in the Fairview area.

      False Creek South is an urban planning success that has transformed a former industrial area into mixed-income community ringed by a seawall and blessed with extensive greenery.

      The City of Vancouver owns 80 percent of the land in False Creek South, which were leased to tenants when the area was being built during the 1970s and 1980s.

      Most of these 60-year leases are expiring between 2036 and 2046.

      In 2018, city council adopted a provisional vision statement for the renewal of the community.

      The preliminary vision statement included “incremental growth”, which means a “gradual increase in housing capacity that will occur in the community as part of a long-term phased redevelopment”.

      The vision also provided the enabling of a “diversity” of people of different incomes and household types to live in False Creek South.

      According to the vision statement, this is “in consideration of the original planning aspirations and the public ownership of the land, and in recognition of the community’s unique location in the city core, close to jobs and transit”.

      In the brochure for its draft plan, the False Creek South Neighbourhood Association noted that the mixed-income community consists of one-third each for low-, middle-, and high-income residents.

      “Our goal is to retain and increase the stock of affordable housing on that basis, where at least two-thirds of homes are low and middle income households, and where affordability is defined as a percentage of income,” according to the association.

      According to the paper, work on the redevelopment of False Creek South can begin on what it refers to as an “intergenerational hub”.

      The hub is to be located near the Olympic Village Station of Canada Line.

      The hub will have three major components, and one of which is workforce housing adjacent to the rapid transit station.

      A second component is an expansion of co-op housing to allow more families to reside in the community, as well as “senior-appropriate” housing to enable empty nesters to remain in False Creek South.

      The third component is a “campus of care”, where the Broadway Lodge, a facility that provides care for seniors and adults with disabilities, can move to a new site from its current location in the community.

      The intergenerational hub will be along West 6th Avenue, between the Cambie Bridge and the bus loop at Moberly Road.

      The association is exploring the viability of a community housing trust to achieve its goal.

      “Community Housing Trusts focus on preserving and expanding affordable housing,” the brochure noted.

      A community housing trust is a non-profit organization designed to provide affordable housing in perpetuity to low- and moderate-income households.

      Community housing trusts typically own the land.

      On its website, the City of Vancouver states that the planning program for False Creek South is on pause pending resolution of end-of-lease issues with stratas.

      The city is also looking at current leases for housing co-ops and non-market housing in the area.

      There are 1,849 housing units on city-owned land in False Creek South.

      The remaining 20 percent of lands in the community are owned privately and by other levels of government.

      There are 1,354 homes one these non-city-owned lands.

      The False Creek South Neighbourhood Association has set two community workshops for its draft plan.

      The second workshop will be held at Sitka Square on Wednesday (January 29) starting at 7 p.m.