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Neighbourhoods need more say in proposals to create rental housing: advocate

FILE - New condo buildings are shown under construction in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The head of a neighbourhood group is concerned about a report on rental housing to be discussed in council on Tuesday

Larry Benge with the Coaliton of Vancouver Neighbourhoods says neighbourhoods should have more say on what happens

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Creating more rental housing in Vancouver is the goal, but a report going to council on Tuesday with the options on how to do that isn’t getting total support from the head of a group that represents several neighbourhood councils.

Larry Benge with the Coaliton of Vancouver Neighbourhoods says neighbourhoods should have more say, including on one item detailed in the upcoming report which would bring the incentive program into areas with low density.

“I would defer to individual neighbourhoods to make the decisions about where, how and what the density is that has to occur in every neighbourhood in order to accommodate the incoming people.”

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Another proposal in the report is to streamline construction approvals so that wait times for permits are reduced by a year. Benge says that should be done with more consultation involving regular citizens.

“Then you could really, seriously talk about limiting the amount of time, and reducing the amount of time necessary for permits to get through and things like that.”

The report also suggests that rental apartments on main arteries shouldn’t have to be rezoned, something that doesn’t go over well with Benge.

“The public has no say in massive rezonings and obviously two zones across the whole city, that’s a pretty big one.”

He wants to see neighbourhoods become involved in the planning, saying processes could be sped up because people in the area would buy in.