TEAM Housing Expert Says 2021 Census Shows It’s Time to Return to Reality
Current approach has created too much of the wrong kind of housing
VANCOUVER, B.C. ( February 9, 2022) - Today's release of census data confirms that Vancouver's approach to housing and development is out of touch with reality, says architect Brian Palmquist, who chairs TEAM for a Livable Vancouver’s Affordable Housing and Housing Insecurity Policy Committee.
“Not only is the amount of new units approved for construction equal to approximately sixteen years of Vancouver’s actual needs, but the type of housing needed – low and middle-income units, for either rent or for purchase – is not being proposed,” said Palmquist, who was responsible for introducing laneway housing in Vancouver.
“Affordable two or three-bedroom units are not part of the City’s plans at the current time, forcing young and growing families out of the city, and forcing service workers to live outside the city where they work.”
The Census showed Vancouver’s population grew 4.9% between 2016 and 2021, to 662,248 residents from 631,486. That’s in line with the City’s long-term growth trend of just under 1% per year.
In the same 5-year period, the total private dwellings increased by 6.1% - 18,929 homes - to 328,347, more than 23,000 of which are not occupied by permanent residents.
Palmquist pointed out that Vancouver’s annual population growth of about 1% in no way equates to the supposed need for the thousands of new housing units currently approved for construction through enacted or proposed spot rezonings by City Hall. His comments echo TEAM Councillor Colleen Hardwick's long-held concerns about the city's Housing Vancouver Strategy targets, which she believes are artificially high, resulting in levels of rezoning that are driving land prices up.
TEAM is focused on real data to drive managed growth that will provide the kind and amount of housing that Vancouverites need at prices they can afford. Its housing committee has done a deep dive into how to accomplish this. Read a summary of TEAM's affordable housing policy; more robust details will be revealed later in the year. TEAM believes it’s time for Vancouver’s housing and development approach to get back in touch with reality.
Contact: Carol Volkart (604-790-2670)
Brian Palmquist looks at this issue from another angle in his latest City Conversation.