Urban Development Institute Oct. 7 panel features Carr and two mayoral candidates
Certainty for developers, and more multi-storey, low-level construction — these are the key messages City Councillor and Green Party of Vancouver lead Adriane Carr will be delivering at the Urban Development Institute’s Meet the Candidates panel discussion October 7.
“It’s an honour to be hosted by such a respected, non-partisan association especially since we are polling so strongly,” says Carr. Recent polling by Insights West places the Green Party in a virtual tie with the two other parties currently represented on City Council — Vision Vancouver and the Non-Partisan Association.
“In terms of housing affordability, we can build new housing in the classic model that the construction industry in BC is so good at, and that’s multi-storey, low-level construction,” says Carr. “We need to move on from Vancouverism towers as the be-all and end-all, to multi-storey, low-rise, three- to four-storey construction that is an ideal model advocated by Patrick Condon and UBC’s Design Centre for Sustainability. It can accommodate the city’s growth at lower per-unit cost and not disturb the charming character of our neighbourhoods, plus we have the expertise and this wonderful local sustainable material — wood — right in our own backyard.”
Spreading out density with more smaller, lower buildings along more major routes would also correlate with a city-wide comprehensive public transportation pattern similar to the old streetcar grid system Vancouver started with, rather than putting all the “transit eggs in a Broadway subway basket.”
Carr also notes it is critical to protect existing affordable housing. That can be achieved with tools like like energy-saving retrofits and upgrades of older rental buildings through property tax rebates, and by tying increased density to character home retention through rezoning.
“But first and foremost we need as a city to define ‘affordable’ realistically, then bring in a new way to achieve affordable housing for everyone, including people like local construction workers, dry wallers, painters and electricians, and for our city’s emergency workers like police and firefighters, over 75 percent of whom currently live in the suburbs where housing is more affordable.” The successful model the Green Party of Vancouver is looking at is the Whistler Housing Authority.
As well, Carr and her fellow Green Party City Council candidates want to see a more level playing field and more certainty for developers.
“We need to pick up where the CityPlan process of the 1990s was stopped and get a new city-wide city plan in place that includes cumulative impacts — we haven’t had one since 1927. We need a new way to engage citizens with collaborative decision-making to increase the buy-in, and reduce the conflict.
“And we need to level the playing field with development charges so they are standardized, not negotiated, so costs are predictable for all developers — large and small,” says Carr. “Longer term, we need to look at expanding what development cost levies can fund, as stipulated in the Vancouver Charter, and replace Community Amenity Charges (CACs) with one cost-levy charge to help fund the infrastructure and amenities we need in every neighbourhood.”
Carr will be joining mayoral candidates Meena Wong (COPE) and Kick LaPointe (NPA) at the Meet the Candidates Breakfast October 7, 7:30-9:30 a.m. at the Pacific Ballroom, Fairmount Hotel Vancouver, 900 West Georgia Street.
The Urban Development Institute is a non-partisan, national non-profit association of the development industry and its related professions. UDI President Anne McMullin will moderate the panel.