Demolishing existing rental stock will worsen the housing crisis
VANCOUVER, B.C. – At today’s City Council meeting, the Broadway Plan Pace of Change Policy to limit the demolition of older rental apartment stock was rejected by the majority of Council. Vancouver Greens Adriane Carr and Pete Fry were the only two Councillors to support existing renters and affordability in Vancouver by voting in favour of the staff recommendations.
“2000 renter households per year could be forced from their homes because Council refused a Pace of Change Policy for Broadway Plan demovictions today,” said Green City Councillor Pete Fry.
“There has been a lot of misinformation put out about the Pace of Change Policy in the last few weeks,” continued Fry. “The intent of the policy was not to limit the amount of development in the Broadway Plan area — it was about annually limiting the number of affordable rental buildings that could be demolished.”
The report presented to Council clearly stated: staff developed a proposed pace of change policy focusing on managing the rate of redevelopment in the existing apartment areas only, while allowing projects in all other areas of the Broadway Area to proceed in the usual course.
During today’s meeting, City staff indicated they’ve received enquiries for 30 sites and up to 6300 new households that would NOT involve tenant displacement. Further, that developers would see their permits held up waiting for tenant relocations if there was not enough 'swing’ housing.
“Greens are committed to protecting renters and ensuring we have enough affordable housing in our city to meet peoples’ needs,” said Green Councillor Adriane Carr. “We are in the middle of a housing crisis, with much of our most affordable rental stock situated in the Broadway Plan area. It’s irresponsible to demolish affordable housing without plans that will truly protect renters.
“The Pace of Change Policy was a mechanism that would have phased development in areas to minimize displacement, and cause the least harm to vulnerable renters,” continued Carr.
“We need to be looking at the big picture when developing housing policies. Greens recognize that in order for our Tenant Relocation and Protection Policies to be effective, we need to first develop new ‘swing’ housing before we allow the displacement of thousands of renters and the demolition of thousands of affordable family-sized apartments. Even the best renter protections won’t work if there’s nowhere for people to move to,” Carr concluded.
Earlier this year, the ABC Mayor and Council majority voted to discontinue the Vancouver Renters Office which provided information, support, and assistance to renters throughout the city.
Councillor Fry warned, “We heard a lot today that the Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy (TRPP) should be enough to protect renters. The sad reality is ABC’s made it impossible to protect renters in our city. Killing the Renters Office, not funding Broadway Plan staff in 2023's budget, and today's decision not to limit the destruction of existing rental stock ensures the City does not have the staff, resources, or replacement housing necessary to keep-up with the thousands of households per year who will need the TRPP."