STIR begins to evolve from concept to action

The city of glass is still difficult to navigate for many renters who wish to work and live in the city.

“More than half of Vancouver residents rent, but rental only buildings account for just six per cent of stock.”

That is the quote that sticks out from this news item, which while a little late, is a good step forward towards making Vision Vancouver’s promise of using tax incentives to promote the development of new rental units a reality.

Having experiencing first hand what it is like to seek out rental possibilities within the City of Vancouver, I can most definitely say that the stock of adequate and affordable options is limited, to say the least.

The program is bigger than the tunnel-vision interests of any specific neighbourhood, making this policy one that is beneficial to the entire city – which, by the way, encompasses 131,000 households that rent, representing 52 per cent of the total.

Do people remember these kinds of scenes from the middle of the last election campaign? This was of course confirmed just days after the new Mayor and Council were sworn in by a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Rental Market Report for Vancouver , which detailed the region’s vacancy rate dropping from 0.7 to 0.5 per cent, while the cost of an average apartment jumped from $898 to $937.

The NPA’s previous Mayoral candidate Peter Ladner said this about his plans for market rental housing in the city:

But what if the federal government has no interest in the housing file whatsoever? What if the only lever that City Council had at its disposal to encourage greater amounts of affordable rental options was through offering their own incentives?

Well, in that kind of environment, the notion of STIR was born.

Oh, and by the way, during the campaign Ladner also talked about “making city-owned land available for rental housing units.

According to the City’s website, projections indicate that “over the next 10 years, an additional 1,000 to 1,500 new rental units will be needed each year to meet demand. Over the years of the NPA, the average was 137 annually.

So while the STIR program isn’t the be all end all when it comes to solving the rental shortage in Vancouver, it does show that the Mayor and Council are being proactive in conjunction with other initiatives like Laneway Housing.

They had better get hustling if they are going to move forward on the proposals for approximately 1600 units in 35 projects that have been received by the City.

But once again, Granville is a good step forward in light of the NIMBY attitudes that have stalled and delayed this important project.

Finally, let me leave you with a short and succinct paragraph also from the City’s website on why rental housing is so important:

Building Diverse communities
Rental housing enables lower income households to live in the city, providing affordable housing to workers essential to Vancouver’s economy. It also provides housing to people at different stages in their lifecycle (e.g. from young people and students first gaining their independence, to families with young children.) Rental housing provides accommodation for new Canadians and for those who have moved from other parts of Canada.”

With a city that continually struggles with becoming one that houses the extremes of the “haves” and the “have nots,” I’d say that those are reasons enough to make sure that inclusiveness becomes the guiding spirit of our growth over any notions of exclusivity.

About the author

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress | Deadline Theme : An AWESEM design