Vancouver's City Council has voted to allow developers to construct mid-rise buildings around the Canada Line Stations along sections of the Cambie Street corridor over the next few decades.
Council approved a plan to allow buildings up to 12 storeys in height on Monday night, and left room for them to go even higher around the Oakridge Mall near 41st Avenue and at the southern end of Cambie Street near Marine Drive.
Councillor Geoff Meggs says it makes sense to allow a denser mix of residential and commercial developments next to the major transit stations and bus stops located between 16th Avenue and Marine Drive.
The plan will add an additional 15,000 people to the Cambie corridor over the next few decades, but Meggs says it's not going to end up looking like the West End, which is dominated by high-rise buildings.
"This population will be spread out over the entire strip," he said.
"When you put in context, we expect 15,000 to live in the Olympic Village area when it's all done."
20 per cent social housing
Meggs says the city has also committed to 20 per cent social housing at some of the larger developments, such as the old TransLink bus yard along 41st Avenue.
But he admits making the rest of the homes affordable for middle-income people will be a challenge.
"We had a lot of submissions from young professionals and couples who are earning decent money — no way are they going to be able to buy in Vancouver under current prices, and that is a conundrum for the city, right across town, and one that we haven't been able to resolve on the Cambie corridor," he said.
"There will also be a real serious attempt to bring in some market rental, but the cost of land in that corridor makes it difficult," he said.
Increased height troubles residents
Council first proposed raising building height restrictions along Cambie Street to six to eight storeys last year and held a series of public meeting on the proposal.
Bill Hepler, who lives near Cambie Street and King Edward Avenue, says says the city didn't listen to what people living in the area had to say at those public meetings, and he may be forced to leave the neighbourhood.
"There are lots of issues with shadowing and things like that that are going to affect our neighbourhood," said Hepler.
"There is no financial plan for how the city is going to get the money to pay for amenities and even the changes that are needed to sewers and roads when they do this."