Future plans for Vancouver’s False Creek South should start fresh with the public planning process

Starting a fresh start with a public planning process ensures that the process starts from a trusting place with the residents, said Councilor Christine Boyle.

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Vancouver City Council has voted to park a conceptual development plan for the future of False Creek South that will see the densification of the mixed-income neighborhood.

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Instead, they have chosen to start fresh with a formal community planning process.

The False Creek South neighborhood plan proposed to increase the number of units in the waterfront neighborhood on the south shore of False Creek from the current 1,849 to a final target of 6,645. It would also change the housing composition and increase the share of market layers and leases.

At a committee meeting Thursday, city council members chose to support a change from the county council. Christine Boyle to use the development plan submitted by the city’s real estate department to simply “inform, but not limit” a community planning process.

Too many residents had questions and concerns about the proposed plan, Boyle said.

“It’s rare that so many groups across the city say this conceptual plan was not the place to start,” Boyle said after the meeting.

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The decision does not delay the process, she said.

“Either way, we would have gone into a planning process. But this ensures that the process starts from a place where the residents have confidence, so that it can better engage them and better hear from them and reflect the direction that the residents of False Creek South and the city and the municipality all want to see. “

Boyle said most of the concerns she heard were not about the planned increase in density, but the desire to have as many cooperative and non-market housing as possible, as well as how income-based housing is spread across the neighborhood.

False Creek South, formerly an industrial country, was developed in the 1970s and is now home to about 5,500 people.

There are about 1,800 properties on the city’s land, which makes up about 80 percent of the land in False Creek South. Another 1,300 units are on private land.

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Non-market and cooperative housing make up more than half of all housing in the city-owned part of the neighborhood. A further 36 per cent. are market leases, while eight per cent. is market rent.

The plan predicted that each of the three housing types would make up about a third – something many residents were not thrilled about.

“The concern was that the balance was shifting,” Boyle said, noting that although all types of housing would see an increase, the targets were “too sharply skewed towards market layers and rents.”

Boyle also tabled an amendment, which received unanimous support, to maintain False Creek South’s original vision of having one-third lower-income residents, one-third middle-income residents and one-third upper-income residents.

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Maintaining affordable mixed-income housing with cooperatives and lower-income units requires funding from high-level government levels, she added.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart told the council that the welcoming feelings expressed by False Creek South residents about having low-income people as their future neighbors should serve as a signal to other parts of the city.

grev. Colleen Hardwick, who earlier Thursday had issued a statement saying the proposed plan would reduce affordability in the neighborhood, said she breathed a sigh of relief over Thursday’s result.

“False Creek South has been internationally recognized as an example of getting it right in urban design since the early 1970s,” she told councilors. “I was deeply concerned that we would destroy this legacy.”

The council has already instructed the city’s real estate department to begin formal negotiations on tenancy housing, most of which are set to expire in the next 15 to 25 years. The municipality will also initiate discussions on lease extensions and redevelopment options with the area’s cooperatives.

The community planning process for False Creek South will involve consulting residents in the neighborhood and across the city, First Nations and other stakeholders. It is expected to start in the first half of 2022.

chchan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/cherylchan

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