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BC Supreme Court sides with City of Vancouver in affordable housing case

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The City of Vancouver has won a case over the construction of affordable housing.

The West End Neighbours Residents Society took the matter to court, to argue against incentives given to developers. Those incentives include waiving certain space and parking requirements for developers that build rental spaces.

The society questioned why developers are given incentives for units that go for as much as $1,500 a month for a one bedroom, which the City considers affordable.

Councillor Geoff Meggs says the purpose of the incentives is to steer developers into the rental rather than the condo market. “The City has guaranteed the housing remains rental for 60 years or the life of the building — whichever is longer. So, that’s a tremendous benefit.”

The society questioned whether what it called “subsidies to developers” do in fact result in more affordable housing. Meggs says the program is working, in that more rentals are being built.

“We’ve now got about 3,000 new rental units since 2008… We hear from the grapevine that’s improving vacancy rates in some neighbourhoods,” he tells us.

The judge ruled the question over affordability is a political one, not a legal decision.