View cone demolition – another nail in the coffin of affordable housing

Yesterday, Vision Vancouver approved the application for a tower adjacent to BC Place Stadium. The application is from BC Pavilion Corporation or PavCo, the provincial Crown corporation originally created to manage the Expo 86 site. The tower, one of three PavCo is proposing in total for the site, has created a lot of concern given the fact it will intrude into a view cone of the North Shore Mountains.

Council — with 2 NPA councillors excusing themselves and the 3 remaining non-Vision councillors opposing it — gave PavCo the green light for the proposal: At 400 feet if all of the units are market rentals or, if PavCo keeps to the height restriction of 300 feet required to protect the view, the Crown corporation can choose to build condos for outright sale or market rentals.

Vision Vancouver continues to push the myth that market rentals can somehow help to address today’s housing crisis. One wonders just how unaffordable rental suites will be in a tower overlooking False Creek on one side and with mountain views on the other. My educated guess is that one bedroom units would surely rent for more than $2000 a month. Two bedroom units would be even more expensive.

The real solution to the housing crisis is to require developers to build non-market rentals where rents are geared to income. Historically, such suites have rented for no more than 30% of a person’s income.

Yesterday, Vision Vancouver announced to the world that Vancouver’s view cones are for sale. Let’s make certain that this October we elect a city council prepared to protect our city’s few remaining view cones and willing to truly address our housing crisis.

steve bohus pavco

“MICROSCOPIC” INTRUSION: Massing model of proposed PavCo tower & other proposed towers, as viewed from Cambie Bridge. Mayor Gregor Robertson, in denouncing opposition to the proposed PavCo tower, called the intrusion into the view cone “microscopic”, and wondered why opponents didn’t mind other things that blocked views, like traffic lights and trees. Opposition stems in part from the failure of market rentals to address the housing crisis, since market rentals are out-of-reach for average Vancouverites; meanwhile Vision Vancouver continues to push the myth that market rentals can somehow help to address our housing crisis. Image courtesy of Steve Bohus @stevebohus

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