British Columbia

Vancouver council delays vote on Broadway Plan because they ran out of time

The Broadway Plan seeks to set strategies and building guidelines for a large swath of land north and south of where the Millennium Line extension is being constructed.

If passed, plan could add up to 50,000 more residents along the new SkyTrain line over the next 30 years

Construction of the Millennium Line extension is pictured along Broadway in Vancouver on Thursday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

After three years of consultation, tens of thousands of people giving feedback and a month of debate at city hall, Vancouver council will wait another two weeks to vote on the long-anticipated Broadway Plan.

Council failed to get through the more-than-40 amendments put forward by councillors on Thursday, and failed to get unanimous consent to continue the meeting past its scheduled 10 p.m. end time. 

Because council is backlogged with additional work they failed to complete in previous meetings, the next available time for them to debate the plan is June 22. 

"With so much stuff coming .. we've had quite extensive and ongoing conversations on how to fit everything in," said Mayor Kennedy Stewart, referencing the many high-profile votes Vancouver council has scheduled for the very end of its term after years of consultation, including the citywide Vancouver Plan.

The Broadway plan will provide a general framework for what types of buildings are allowed in these zones, with towers between 20-40 storeys allowed in the light blue "centres" areas. (City of Vancouver)

Key amendments passed

The plan seeks to set strategies and building guidelines for a large swath of land north and south of where the Millennium Line extension is being constructed.

It would provide for up to 50,000 more people in the corridor from Clark to Arbutus Street from First to 16th avenues. 

Mixed-use developments as high as 40 storeys may be allowed near SkyTrain stations, while older rental stock, often small 10-unit buildings, could be replaced by housing developments between 15 and 20 storeys.

Opponents to the plan have generally argued it will create a corridor of towers that will displace current residents without making the city more affordable, while those in favour have argued a new supply of housing is needed and that new transit stations are the best place to centre developments. 

Several amendments to the plan were passed on Wednesday, including a series by Stewart and councillor Jean Swanson to provide greater renter protections. 

Should the full Broadway Plan be approved later this month, residents demovicted as a result would be offered a space in the new replacement building at their existing rental rates, and mandated they get units with a similar size and number of bedrooms as their current home.

"I think this ends demovictions," argued Stewart.

"They have a certainty of where their life is going to go. They'll be moved into a new building, all their costs would be covered, and they can move back when their building is constructed at or below the current rents they pay."

Another anticipated amendment by councillor Christine Boyle, to have the city commit to a comprehensive active transportation lane down Broadway, also passed. 

The vote was unanimous, though multiple councillors said they would wait to see the details on how it would work before passing judgment. 

"Tonight the focus is the great housing debate. I think the great street debate will come when staff come back with options," said councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung. 

Some of the opposition to the Broadway Plan has centred around worries that smaller more affordable rental buildings on streets north and south of Broadway will be developed quickly and displace renters. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Justin McElroy

@j_mcelroy

Justin is the Municipal Affairs Reporter for CBC Vancouver, covering local political stories throughout British Columbia.

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