Today (June 9), Vancouver city council is dealing with dozens of proposed amendments to the Broadway Plan.
But one politician in the chamber, Team for a Livable Vancouver's Colleen Hardwick, thinks that the plan and the proposed amendments should not be voted on for several months.
In a news release today, Hardwick said that she will introduce a motion to refer the Broadway Plan and 42 amendments back to staff—with instructions for them not to return until after the October 15 municipal election.
“The Broadway Plan is not only flawed but it is a massive 493-page proposal affecting 500 blocks—and one that few Vancouver citizens have had a chance to review or consider its impact on their neighbourhoods,” Hardwick declared. “Now, council is debating 42 amendments that would substantially alter an already extremely complicated plan—it’s ridiculous and it’s unfair to Vancouver residents.”
She added that Vancouver citizens have not even seen any of the amendments proposed by other members of council. She noted that the staff report is 177 pages long.
“This has become an enormous quagmire of complications that simply cannot be properly debated without significantly more public input, let alone voted on and implemented in the last months of council’s term in office,” she said. “To push the Broadway Plan through is wrong for Vancouver and council should defer it."
The plan calls for increasing the number of housing units between Vine Street and Clark Drive and 16th Avenue and 2nd Avenue to allow for 50,000 more residents over the next 30 years.
However, Goodman Commercial principals Cynthia Jagger and Mark Goodman claimed last month that staff changes to the plan—including adjustments to building heights and frontage requirements—will sharply reduce the number of future rental units in this area.
Hardwick's party opposes concentrating so much density into this one area of the city. Others, like Abundant Housing Vancouver, feel the plan doesn't go far enough.
"A fundamental cause of the housing crisis is that most residential land is reserved for exclusive and expensive low-density housing," Abundant Housing Vancouver directors Albert Huang and Peter Waldkirch wrote on Straight.com. "Because of exclusionary zoning, which has come under fire across Canada and the United States, apartments are banned on about 80 percent of the city’s residential land, sending housing costs through the roof.
"The plan envisions some apartments—but only in the Broadway area, which is already home to many apartments," they continued. "This perpetuates a cycle of displacement where renters are constantly at risk of being evicted to make room for new apartments. Meanwhile, people who own houses are 'protected' from the risk they may one day have to welcome apartments (and the people who live in them) into their neighbourhood."