In a long piece on CACs by SFU urbanist graduate student Karen Sawatsky she supports the current system and in passing mentions my own article on CACs written here a little while ago as being part of the opposition. It is a pity she didn’t look further at the implications of the current system which requires rezoning for any CACs to be paid.
If a developer follows the rules and builds a project within the limits of the zoning previously approved for the lot(s), then no CACs are paid. The City only gains CACs when it agrees to break the social contract implied in the zoning that exists. And given that the City under Vision has become dependent — like an addict — on these payments, then the City is explicitly encouraging breaches of the zoning it had previously agreed with the neighbourhood and its residents.
In order to get around the terrible political optics that one spot-rezoning after another brings with it (because the residents generally object to the non-consensual change), Vision decided to revive the Community Plan process. This top-down we-know-best planning scheme sought to rezone entire neighbourhoods (four at once if they had had their way) and “pre-load” the CACs into the Plan. Of course, they have already planned their budgets to include these CACs and so, in order to guarantee the cash, they are obliged to push the developer-friendly Plans through regardless of residents’ opposition.
Is it any wonder the neighbourhoods — including what Ms. Sawatsky calls the “lefty” Drive — have been up in arms for years against Vision and its rapacious cronies?
While it might sound good to get the developers to pay in this way, any sensible person knows that the developer never pays — the cost is simply added to the price of every housing unit being built, thus exacerbating the affordability crisis.
Moreover, under the current Vision regime and its compliant Planning Department, it is only the developers and the planners who decide what community amenities we should have. Not the residents, not the taxpayers, not even the elected Councilors. This is a true scandal and must be stopped.