City Hall liveblog: Public hearing on social housing for the DTES Local Area Plan

Social housing and micro dwelling amendments to Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan debated at Vancouver City Hall. Follow along live.

Speakers debate the DTES Local Area Plan's new by-laws.

Housing amendments to DTES Local Area Plan to be debated at City Hall: Follow Live

This is a liveblog from City Hall on April 1, 2014; where a public hearing is convening to discuss amendments to the massively controversial Downtown East side (DTES) Local Area Plan.

The amendments come in the form of four by-laws to retool the notion of "social housing". Also added are definitions for “secured market rental housing” and “micro dwelling units” (aka microlofts).

These are the draft by-laws under discussion:

These by-law definitions are part of the much-larger argument over what gentrification primarily means: prosperity or displacement. None of the above by-laws address the phrase "affordable housing". That's a whole separate issue (except of course it's not).

Proponents of the DTES local area plan argue that the area needs to be revitalized, but it has been pointed out (over 120 times during the public discussion phase) that the concepts of "affordable housing" and "social housing" are themselves underdeveloped by a local government with a history of coziness with the real estate development industry. Hence the additions to the DTES Local Area Plan under examination this evening.

(I predict that the #25klunch meme will come up more than once: when a condo developer throws a $25,000-a-plate fundraiser for the sitting mayor, it attracts public attention.)

Since we'll be talking about microlofts, there will be a lot of numbers flying around: 29.2 (minimum suggested size) is 249.72 square feet, and 29.7 (maximum suggested size) is 319.69 square feet.

This evening's City Council meeting kicks off at 6pm. The most recent entries will appear at the top, so refresh this page often to read the latest updates. It will get heated. Also, keep an eye on the Vancouver Observer’s Twitter feed. If you’re scheduled to speak at City Hall today (or following someone who is), keep an eye on @VanCityClerk for wait times.

City Hall Liveblog

10:10pm No more questions related to public hearing portion of this item.It will now be referred to a meeting on April 15 or 16 as unfinished business. Robertson cautions Council about conversations related to this item: "Be careful on that front."

Motion carries to conclude the meeting. This concludes the live blog for this public hearing.

10pm Reimer: Shelter rate is not a target, but a requirement for 1/3 of units under discussion to be delivered at welfare rate; confirmed by Bond.

Robertson asks Bond what tools are available to the City, such as denying permits or licenses to developers carrying out renovictions. Bond says, "We have looked at this recently again, and we are restricted in the issuing of licenses" such as liquor licenses; it's a provincial power. Unless they're conditional permits or licenses (i.e. for liquor), in which case the City would have more power.

(The gallery is chuckling as Bond basically punts the license/permit responsibility to Victoria.)

Robertson: "Are there enough units being created now?" Bond: "There are 850 in development now, some of which would be considered SRO replacement."

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