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Vancouver's new approach to affordable rental housing draws criticism

Artist’s illustration of what Oakridge Town Centre could look like in the future. (Courtesy City of Vancouver)

Robertson says the new pilot project will create at least 1,000 rental homes in the new Oakridge Municipal Town Centre

NPA councillosr suggest this Vision Vancouver initiative will fail

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Vancouver’s mayor has unveiled more details on his latest plan to make housing more affordable.

Gregor Robertson says a new pilot project will create at least 1,000 rental homes in the new Oakridge Municipal Town Centre, along the Cambie corridor.

“That’s why our housing going forward needs to ensure it’s a mix of housing for people on lower incomes, people that are earning average incomes in the city. We’re going to have to make sure the formula is different.”

Robertson adds he’s hopeful BC’s new Premier, John Horgan, will support more projects like this.

NPA councillor Melissa de Genova, however, is already suggesting this Vision Vancouver initiative will fail.

“We’re going to see a number of those groups of people –the young families, the millenials, leave Vancouver. It’s great that the mayor says he wants to work with the province. Let’s give him a chance, but he promised us the moment there was a new government at the federal level that we would see all this money come forward.”

Only people earning less than $80,000 a year will be eligible for the new homes identified as “long-term affordable.”

NPA councillor George Affleck is suggesting this plan is just as doomed as Robertson’s promise to end homelessness by 2015.

“Vancouver is trying to do this alone again and the rest of the region, they’re not stepping up and we’re seeing a real problem here. The mayor made a commitment to end homelessness. In this report, we’re seeing a six per cent increase per year –finally admits to the failure of Vision Vancouver on that front.”

Affleck believes neighbouring communities need to step up, including Burnaby where 500 rental units were recently lost.

“The rest of the region is relying on Vancouver and we can’t afford to do this alone. Forget about the province and the federal government. The other cities around us –Vancouver taxpayers can not afford to do this on their own.”

Robertson insists the plan to cap rents at no more than 30 per cent of a tenant’s annual income is ground-breaking and could be expanded to other cities.