Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish Territories (Vancouver) – Vision Vancouver council candidates released a five-point plan on affordable housing today, with a focus on ending zoning bans on apartments, increasing affordable housing supply and protecting renters. Vision Vancouver’s first priority will be to introduce a motion directing City staff to bring forward policy within 90 days on city-wide zoning reform, to open up all neighbourhoods to low- and mid-rise 'missing middle' housing options.
“The housing crisis is the greatest challenge facing Vancouver today, and it demands leadership—not another motion to defer or delay,” said Vision Vancouver Council candidate Lesli Boldt. “We need a city council that has the courage to act on the public’s priorities. Vision’s housing plan will take swift, bold action to remove the barriers to new housing - particularly rental housing - and to work with other councillors who share our commitment to getting things done.”
Vision's five-point housing plan:
For A City that Works — Housing for All
1. Introduce a motion directing staff to bring forward city-wide zoning reform policy that will open up neighbourhoods to low and mid-rise housing options, for a vote within 90 days of taking office.
Years of consultation on housing have already happened. Enough talk: it’s time for action. If other municipal parties support zoning reform and expanding ‘missing middle’ housing options, then let's have a vote on it - as soon as possible.
2. Support removal of public hearing requirements for all-below market housing (including non-profit, public co-op housing).
"We’ve seen City Council waste enormous amounts of time with dysfunctional public hearings this term, with councillors coming unprepared, asking endless questions, and disrespecting the public's time," said Vision Council candidate Stuart Mackinnon. "Why is it that a mansion can be built without any challenge but the most urgent form of housing is subject to enormous hurdles? We need a more equitable approach. This policy will prioritize housing for those who need it most, getting our city working again."
3. Kickstart the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA)
Vision Vancouver will revitalize VAHA to give it the mandate and resources to build more affordable housing on city-owned land. Four years ago, VAHA was the single biggest developer of non-market housing in Vancouver, involved in the launch of Vancouver's biggest community land trust. Since then, Council has been asleep at the switch and failed to support VAHA. As a result, hundreds of units of affordable housing are behind schedule. VAHA works – and Vision will make it a priority again, to get more below-market and co-op housing built.4
4. Expand protection and advocacy for renters
It's time to realize the potential of the partially implemented Renters Protection Office to offer protections and advocacy for renters, and appoint a Renters’ Advocate. Renters need someone at City Hall whose primary focus is on advocating for tenants’ needs – particularly in a time of increased renovictions and extreme shortages of rental housing. The advocate would champion renter’s rights and make recommendations on more effective enforcement of short-term rental violations.
"Vancouverites deserve elected representatives who are committed to acting on their priorities, share their optimism and are laser-focused on finding ways to improve their day-to-day lives, without getting lost in political bickering," added Vision Council candidate Honieh Barzegari. "Vision Vancouver has an experienced team of candidates for Council, Park Board and School Board who are ready to be bold, deliver results and work together to get our city working again.”
5. Address permitting delays
If we are going to increase our housing supply across the city, we also need to address the length of time it requires to get a permit. The city’s building and licensing department is not working, impacting our economy and ability to build housing we desperately need. Vision Vancouver will address permitting delays by directing staff to:
- guarantee a permit under 3 months for any single family home densifying their lot with a secondary suite, duplex, triplex or laneway
address Vancouverites' endless frustration with getting permits for small home renovations by guaranteeing a 30-day decision - a yes or a no - on projects under $50,000. To do so, we will increase staffing resources for the building permit department.
“Increasing housing supply is a critical path towards affordability, says Vision council candidate, Lesli Boldt. “In order to do so, any homeowner that wants to densify their lot to include a secondary suite, duplex, triplex, or laneway home should be prioritized for a permit. To add to that, we will expedite decisions on permits under $50,000 so people looking to make small changes to their homes can get an answer in a reasonable timeframe.”
Vision Vancouver will release more platform policies in the weeks ahead.
For more information, go to www.votevision.ca.