Skip to content
Battle over Vancouver’s Broadway plan a sign of things to come, expert says – B.C.

It will be months before the shovels hit the ground, but Vancouver has a roadmap for the redevelopment of its so-called “second downtown”.

After six marathon meetings and feedback from hundreds of residents, city councilors voted seven to four in favor of the Broadway plan on Wednesday night.

The plan sets the ground rules for development in a 500-block area surrounding the new Broadway subway and anticipates about 50,000 new residents over the next 30 years.

Read more:

Vancouver council approves controversial 30-year Broadway plan

Towers of up to 40 stories could be built near transit stations, and towers of 20 to 30 stories could be built in several central or shoulder areas. The city aims for 65% of construction to be rental, with a quarter at below-market rates.

The story continues under the ad

The plan proved controversial, in part because of its massive scale and central location.

But urban planner and SFU city program director Andy Yan said the sometimes heated debate over the Broadway plan was in some ways indicative of Vancouver’s future.

Battle over Vancouver’s Broadway plan a sign of things to come, expert says – B.C.

Vancouver City Council votes to approve Broadway plan

Vancouver City Council votes to approve Broadway plan

“From this shot, I think we see the tensions and how much the city has changed,” Yan said. “We no longer have land that is easy to develop and the land we have left is either currently occupied or its land which has neighbors. Development and change in the city of Vancouver will be much messier. It’s going to take another level of leadership, a new level of leadership that deals not just with what could be there, but with what is there.

This “mess” was evidenced by the more than two dozen amendments added to the Broadway plan before it was approved, including what Mayor Kennedy Stewart called the “strongest tenant protections in the world.” Canada”.

The story continues under the ad

New tenant rules require developers in the plan area to find suitable alternative housing for tenants before they can start demolition.

It also requires them to allow tenants to move back into the new building at their old rent or 20% below the city average, whichever is always the cheapest.

Read more:

The Vancouver Tenants Union fears the Broadway plan will lead to massive evictions and rent hikes

On Thursday, Stewart announced the plan as a “massive win” for the city and the tenants.

“Nearly 75% of new units coming in 30+ years will be for tenants, which is so important if you think about the jobs in this hallway, the healthcare jobs, the education jobs, the health care jobs,” he said.

“What I’m happiest about is that many of these units are permanently below market rents. So if you’re earning minimum wage, there are now units setting up for you.

The plan was also changed to allow towers on lots with frontages of 30 meters (99 ft), down from 45 meters (150 ft), which could facilitate lot assemblages, and also to cap the number of towers per block face three. .

Another amendment committed the city to building a bike lane on Broadway suitable for all ages and abilities.

The story continues under the ad

Changes to the plan also require city staff to report in many areas, many in response to concerns about the strain 50,000 new residents could put on city amenities.

Battle over Vancouver’s Broadway plan a sign of things to come, expert says – B.C.

Public hearings begin on Broadway redevelopment plan

Public hearings begin on Broadway redevelopment plan – May 18, 2022

Staff were instructed to report on a goal of new parks and open space, as well as allocating more than 10% of road space to non-automotive use, such as mini-parks, vegetable gardens or playgrounds.

They were also ordered to return with an operational review of Vancouver’s fire and rescue services, “including immediate and future staffing requirements and new or expanded fire station facilities,” given the boom. potential demographic.

The plan was also amended to formally request the Ministry of Education to prioritize funding for new and expanded schools to accommodate the growing population of the corridor.

The story continues under the ad

“It is difficult, I think, for the staff and certainly for the observers to know what the content and the economic implications of all the amendments are, but I guess we will start to redevelop, I guess, in September” when the plan will officially go into effect, said UBC economist

“I think the bottom line is that the council did an imperfect job, but really tried to balance the need for new homes with preserving nature and the quality of life for people who live near the area. plan.”

Areas closest to new metro stations will likely be the first to see redevelopment, he said.

Read more:

Opponents of Broadway plan rally against ‘concrete canyon’ at Vancouver City Hall

The plan faced stiff opposition from critics who said the scale of the towers would create a “concrete canyon” and was not in keeping with the character of the area.

Others warned it would open the door to gentrification and land speculation.

Com. Colleen Hardwick, who ultimately voted against the plan, mounted an unsuccessful bid to have the entire plan shelved until the next municipal election.

“It’s the loss of affordable rents, the displacement of people and really the push for density that’s not being rationalized by population growth or job growth,” she told the council.

The story continues under the ad

Battle over Vancouver’s Broadway plan a sign of things to come, expert says – B.C.

Should the Broadway corridor become a high density area?

Should the Broadway corridor become a high density area? – May 13, 2022

The plan has also been challenged by some tenants, with the Vancouver Tenants Union calling the new protections “insufficient” and no implementation timelines or details on enforcement.

BC’s attorney general and minister responsible for housing said he believes the city’s protections are workable and the province is supporting them through BC Housing “as best we can.”

“These buildings, many of which are aging, will be replaced. So if we can protect the tenants but not the buildings and get them new affordable housing, that’s the goal,” he said.

The plan will be officially implemented on September 1.

— With files by Aaron McArthur

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.