Hurried “chainsaw massacre” of our city’s zoning


I don’t normally read the Vancouver Sun — it’s much too conservative for me. However, I was recently made aware of a great guest editorial by Elizabeth Murphy, a respected urbanist and former member of Vancouver’s planning department.

Her op ed ran July 2 and is a must-read. Calling it a “chainsaw massacre”, she does a great job of summarizing the devastating effects we are likely to experience if Gregor Robertson’s mass rezoning motion goes through.

In a rush before the fall election, Mayor Robertson is trying to push through a citywide mass rezoning that would apply to all areas currently zoned as single family. Under his proposal, duplexes, triplexes and any multi-unit developments will be permitted where currently only one residence is allowed. And the public was given only three days to respond to the 680-page report!

A mass rezoning of this scope has never been done before in our city’s history for good reason. It will result in the elimination of existing older housing stock, which will destroy neighbourhood character and create mass speculation. It will actually cause a significant increase in the value of existing single-family residences, making matters worse, not better, regarding the housing crisis it purports to solve.

Most of the current Vision Vancouver city council members — who make up the majority on council now — are not accountable because they aren’t running again in the upcoming election, so there is little enraged citizens can do. Nevertheless, I would urge you to read Elizabeth’s op ed piece. If you feel like I do, phone the mayor’s office at 604-873-7621, or email the mayor and council via this link.

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One Response to Hurried “chainsaw massacre” of our city’s zoning

  1. Anita Romaniuk says:

    Notice how much of the increase in housing prices due to upzoning is on the east side of Vancouver, where historically working-class people could go to afford a house in Vancouver, whether purchasing or rental. This is why we are losing families with young children in Vancouver. A couple without children might be living in a 650 sq ft apartment or condo, but this doesn’t have room once they want to start a family. This is affecting Vancouver’s schools as well – provincial funding depends on numbers of children, so schools are losing funding and threatened with closure. That is happening because of upzoning and speculation inflation in housing prices.

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