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New developments in Vancouver far outpace what regional plan says population should grow by: residents

November 3rd, 2013 · 121 Comments

As some of you careful readers might have noted in the past, I am not always an admirer of the way opposition groups do war.

Saying they’ve been treated disrespectfully by city hall politicians and staff, they then proceed to issue statements and write blog comments that make them sound like foul-mouthed 13-year-olds.

Complaining that city planners and engineers have been deceptive, they circulate wonky bits of information and “facts” that suit their rhetorical purposes at the moment.

They’re not doing themselves any favours, that’s for sure.

But the new Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods has just issued a news release that deserves to be taken seriously and debated.

The group has looked at the population number that Metro Vancouver set as a target for the city in its recently passed Regional Growth Strategy. (To see it for yourself, go here.) It’s worked out what kind of growth that means per year if Vancouver is going to get to 740,000 b6 2041 from the approximately 630,000 it’s at now. And it has compared that to the actual number of completions of new units currently going on.

There are lots of issues still to be considered here: for example, does it matter what the RGS says, if people are moving here and prepared to outbid existing residents for housing if they can’t find enough supply?

But the numbers at least help us put what’s going on in context.

As I’d said in previous blog posts (or tweets or something), one of the things that’s making people uncomfortable about the current community plans is the sense that city planners are just jamming in maximum density wherever they think they can. Residents have had no sense of what projected rate of growth for their area is, no chance to talk about whether they think that projected rate is reasonable, no sense of whether the new density in plans matches that rate, and no sense of what the end game is at all.

The release is copied below

November 4, 2013
What’s The Rush? Vancouver Communities Question Rapid Rate of Development
Vancouver, B.C. – The City of Vancouver is accepting proposals and approving residential construction five times faster than their own projections demand.
According to the Regional Context Statement approved by Vancouver City Council in June this year, the planners anticipate that Vancouver will see an increase of 153,800 people in the thirty-five years from 2006 to 2041 – a rate of an additional 4,350 people per year.
It is this expected increase of 153,800 people that the City says demands the densification plans they have been pushing.
However, since 2011, the city has already proposed or approved sufficient new housing to accommodate 43,000 people. In just two years, this planned housing satisfies 28% of the growth the city projects being required over the next 35 years.
This rapid pace is not justified by the city’s own projections. Continuing at this blistering pace of development, the city will reach its own 2041 targets by 2019, twenty-two years ahead of schedule.
Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods spokesperson Jak King noted that “these numbers do not include any units that were approved between 2006 and 2011 for which we do not have figures but which we believe add significantly to this total.” The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods represents community associations across the City, and is seeking a new and more respectful and involved relationship between the City and its neighbourhoods.
“The Coalition supports well-planned, reasonably-paced growth, with developments that are aligned with the interests of local communities,” said co-chair Fern Jeffries. “We want our local communities to be a respected and influential part of the process, to ensure that the increased density is consistent with neighbourhood plans and maintains good livability for its residents.”
By any measure, the current rate of development greatly exceeds the City’s own projected requirements. The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods therefore asks the City, why is it pursuing this unsustainably rapid pace of development so aggressively and so unilaterally?


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