The housing crisis will not end until we end the critical shortage of affordable housing in Vancouver.
For too long, apartment buildings have been banned throughout much of the city. We must end our ‘tall and sprawl’ status quo - and start building communities for all.
For too long, we have banned apartment buildings on side streets - allowing them on main streets only. This means that quiet neighbourhoods have been set aside exclusively for the wealthy.
By allowing new rental buildings of up to six storeys, including small-scale retail at street level, OneCity will ensure that rental apartments will be built in formerly exclusive areas of the city.
New condo developments will also be permitted, up to four storeys.
This development will have its final approval delegated to staff, allowing it to proceed without extra steps or hearings. This will end the political micromanagement of desperately needed housing and allow us to build faster.
In doing so, we can unlock the potential of these streets and neighbourhoods, transforming them into places where everyone can thrive.
Housing is a human right. By building nonprofit, cooperative and mixed-income housing everywhere, we’ll make that right real, and allow everyone at every income level to live in every part of the city.
OneCity will give social housing an advantage over market developments — allowing them to build much higher and faster than their private, for-profit counterparts. And similar to for-profit developments, non-market developments that comply with guidelines will be approved by staff with no extra hearings.
Is this stacking the deck in favour of social housing? Absolutely. We make no apologies for it.
OneCity will transform the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency — which, at the moment, helps nonprofits get permits — into a public developer, so that we can build the homes we need ourselves.
We’ll also demand that the province give us the power to grant this agency the right of first refusal on all land that comes onto the market, giving social housing agencies first crack at all redevelopment opportunities.
Families should be able to grow up together. But right now, soaring housing costs force families to live far apart.
We’ll change the rules to build more dignified and sizeable 2- and 3-bedroom apartments, allowing families to grow up and grow old together.
And we’ll provide incentives to redevelop single family homes into multiplexes.
Capturing land value
Vancouver has revenue tools that let us capture much of the increase in land value that comes with new development and new potential.
We propose to use those tools to their fullest extent and roll the proceeds into affordable housing and neighbourhood amenities.
OneCity has long supported a Land Value Tax, which would allow us to fix Vancouver’s broken land market. With a Land Value Tax in place, we could do much more — but for that, we need the Province to act.
Luz works at a No Frills on Fraser. She is a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), and her work means Vancouverites don’t have to worry about where they’ll get their food. New co-ops mean that Luz can rent a below-market unit together with her boyfriend — meaning her commute is 15 minutes, not 1.5 hours. The building is ten storeys high, giving it the scale needed to support her unit and giving her access to a close-knit community of neighbours and ground-level shops and services.
Alex is a young professional, born and raised in Vancouver, who lives in Kits. She and her partner want to start a family, but they can’t afford to buy in Vancouver and their present rental is too small. New three-bedroom rental units in six-storey buildings will let Alex and her husband raise their child in the city, close to schools, parks and services.
Ellen and her wife live in East Van. They were fortunate enough to buy when it was still possible, and raise their son together in a modest house. Ellen’s siblings were not as lucky as she was; they are considering moving away from Vancouver. New rental units will allow Ellen’s family to remain in Vancouver, letting Ellen’s son grow up with his uncles and aunts, and giving Ellen access to family childcare.
Matthew was born in Vancouver in 1948 and lives in a house in Strathcona. In his retirement, he’s taken up gardening, and volunteering at his local church. His neighbourhood has changed a lot over the years, but now his son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren all live in a family-sized unit on the fourth floor three streets down from his house. Because that building exists, he can visit their home and spoil the grandkids any time he wants.