2 letters to City Council for May 26 & 27: ‘Social housing’ definition, development and permit processes

The following letters were sent to Vancouver Mayor and Councillors pertaining to agenda topics for meetings this week of May 25, 2020 at City Hall. Please see the list at top, with actual text of the letters further below.

  1. Motion B.4 (May 26): Defining Social Housing Consistently and Transparently in the City of Vancouver
  2. Agenda Item 1 (May 27). Development and Permit Process Improvements



Re: Motion B.4: Defining Social Housing Consistently and Transparently in the City of Vancouver
May 26 Motion B.4: https://council.vancouver.ca/20200526/documents/motionb4.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) supports this Motion.

This proposal is an important first step to redress the current situation, which misrepresents the actual social housing being developed by including primarily market rental housing within the designation. As a result, benefits such as CAC and DCL waivers are awarded where they are not deserved, while the actual need for social and affordable housing remains largely unmet.

Further, the City’s definition of social housing is completely out of step with all other levels of government, leading to confusion in the minds of the public and potential lack of coordination with government partners.

There is a clear need to have more actual social housing developed for lower income and homeless people in Vancouver. We urge Council to support this Motion as a needed first step to more fully addressing this issue.



Re: May 27 Meeting – Agenda Item 1. Development and Permit Process Improvements
May 27 Council Item 1: https://council.vancouver.ca/20200527/documents/pspc1b.pdf

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) opposes the referral of this application to Public Hearing. While the intention of improving the permitting process is a good one, this report goes much further than simply improving processes by suggesting alterations to many sections of the Zoning Bylaw.

Among our concerns:
• The city is combining a large number of amendments on unrelated issues as an omnibus change to the Zoning and Development By-law for various zoning schedules, for various Official Development Plans, for the Parking By-Law and other land use documents.
• The changes to various different zoning types (C, M, I, RS, RT, etc.), By-laws or Plans are too complex to be all in one report and should be separated into multiple reports that could provide detailed information and explanation on the impacts of the various changes.
• There are no ‘red-line’ documents provided to show what is changed in context with the original by-law or a detailed explanation of what each amendment means in practical terms to the built forms or development process. This lack of transparency makes it difficult for Council and the public to really know what is changing.
• Suggested changes are substantive alterations to zoning and regulations, with a variety of impacts, not just minor text amendments.
• No public consultation on this item. Public Hearings are not a substitute for full, public engagement. They are one tool in a bag of many that together complete a proper engagement process. It is typical for the public to provide input prior to the staff’s recommendation for referral to a Public Hearing.

This Report, without ‘redline’ documents or detailed explanations, all lumped together in one report, is very difficult to understand. It needs those relevant and red-lined documents to be included or at least referenced with links, and further clarifications as to its effects, divided into related zoning types in separate reports. And public input needs to be included in the drafting of changes before they are referred to public hearing. Until this occurs, CVN opposes its referral to Public Hearing.


The above letters were signed as follows

Larry A. Benge, Co-chair
Dorothy Barkley, Co-chair
Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Member Groups of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods

Arbutus Ridge Community Association
Arbutus Ridge/ Kerrisdale/ Shaughnessy Visions
Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours
Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council
Dunbar Residents Association
Fairview/South Granville Action Committee
False Creek Residents Association
Grandview Woodland Area Council
Granville-Burrard Residents & Business Assoc.
Greater Yaletown Community Association
Joyce Area Residents
Kitsilano-Arbutus Residents Association
Kits Point Residents Association
Marpole Residents Coalition
Norquay Residents
NW Point Grey Home Owners Association
Oakridge Langara Area Residents
Residents Association Mount Pleasant
Riley Park/South Cambie Visions
Shaughnessy Heights Property Owners Assoc.
Strathcona Residents Association
Upper Kitsilano Residents Association
West End Neighbours Society
West Kitsilano Residents Association
West Point Grey Residents Association