Sunday, 12 October 2014


As I said before, upon receipt of its affordability report the VISION Council or whomever pulls its strings, decided that there was a market rental housing emergency

There was at the time no such thing. The problems faced by people who could not find cheaper market rental housing or, for that matter, reasonably priced single family dwellings, was not quite the holocaust the authors made it out to be. It was a market!  

In case the bold, italicized and underlined fonts don't make it clear enough, they were not talking about the mentally ill or the hungry or the homeless. They were talking about the market.

Those who can't find market rentals in  Vancouver find them in surrounding suburbs. Middle class families who can't afford an apartment in Shaugnessy or Kerrisdale are not sleeping under bridges. They are sleeping in Yaletown, the West End, Coal Harbour or even Surrey. That is not a cruel or unusual punishment.

Vision's contribution to policy has been to apply modern social media techniques to politburo politics. It reeks of a Brezhnev era Five Year Plan. It started with the immediate imposition of a uniform standard in all neighborhoods, relating to the distance from certain sized streets. All neighbourhoods near such streets, if the Manager and Council have not noticed, are not alike. Some are ripe for change and others are not.

City Hall aimed a blunderbuss at all residents in Vancouver who happen to live near any street. Any street can be reclassified to an arterial. They created an incentive to consolidate lots in these neighbourhoods. The disruption caused by construction including noise, traffic, loss of trees, blocked views etc. has accelerated. The report called this "making transitional neighbourhoods."   So stable neighborhoods were destabilized into transitional ones.

The Vision Council had no mandate to make these kind of changes. It is ironic that an earlier Council under Larry Campbell held a referendum on whether or not to host the Olympics. By contrast this Council, funded by developers, appointed a gang of them to tell them what they wanted to hear, but has consistently ignored Community Groups from Norquay to Dunbar.

It should not take long for a politician to realize that the democratic process does not end with his or her election. It begins there. These inflated martinets didn't get it.

Hopefully, the election will bring this nightmare to an end. Whomever replaces these people should start with the following:

  1. Require an Official Community Plan in all areas of the City. These should be established through local planning offices. 
  2. Spot zoning, the practice of rezoning one parcel of land, should be subject to new strict regulations.
  3. Discretion in zoning should be brought into line with Development Permits under the Local Government Act so that it is limited to changes in siting but not changes in use or density. 
  4. The Affordability programs must be reworked from the ground up. I may have more to say on that later.

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