Four years ago I wrote a long piece called Why Are We Building So Much So Fast? which showed that under Vision’s control of Vancouver City Council we were building significant amounts of housing units in excess of what was required to meet reasonable population estimates. The following was the graph of my conclusion:
“This graph shows the actual housing approvals through to 2016 (red), and the light blue shows the rate of building approvals we need to meet the Regional Context Statement (RCS) target. The green line shows the projection of housing units if we continue to build at the average of the last five years, while the purple uses the average for the last two years.
The green line meets the RCS requirements by 2028 (13 years early). The purple line meets RCS requirements by 2026 (15 years early).
Continuing to build at the rate set in 2014 and 2015 will create an additional 195,059 housing units by 2041 – almost 100,000 more units than the projections say are required.”
Since I wrote that, we have had the empty homes scandal, leading to the empty homes tax, which rather proved my point. It was around this time that I changed my Twitter handle to “build4neednot4greed.”
Unfortunately, a majority of the present Council, led by Mayor Kennedy Stewart, has continued on this path, approving thousands upon thousands of units beyond any reasonable estimate of population growth. They are doing this apparently relying on the old Vision Vancouver Housing Strategy (VHS) analysis that city staff seems reluctant to modify even in the face of overwhelming statistical evidence that their numbers are simply wrong.
Councillor Colleen Hardwick has a Motion before Council next week requesting (a) that the VHS be adjusted to reflect actual population growth, and (b) for the staff to reveal detailed data on the current pipeline of approvals and other relevant information. I hope that many of you will write to support this Motion either by writing to Council and/or agreeing to speak (remotely from home by telephone) when the Motion is brought forward.
It would be especially helpful if someone with a younger and more agile brain than mine could revamp my earlier arguments with more current information.
If Clr Hardwick’s motion is approved and we can find out the current data, we then need to turn to the types and affordability of the approvals being granted and thus ensure that the majority of new building meets the needs of the majority of Vancouver residents not just the lucky few. But that’s a whole other story.