13 December 2017 0 Comments Posted By : Matt Robinson

Social housing in posh Vancouver postal code? Not so fast

If Hector Bremner had his way, mansions in tony West Point Grey would be flanked by six-storey flats flush with students, seniors and social housing recipients.

The new Non-Partisan Association councillor introduced a motion at city hall on Tuesday to rezone one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in the country to permit thousands of affordable rental homes in the area. But the motion was effectively brushed aside by a move by Vision Vancouver Coun. Heather Deal to refer the idea to staff for further consideration.

Zoning in the neighbourhood, north of 4th Avenue and west of Blanca Street, not far from the University of B.C., “forbids homes on lots smaller than 12,000 (square feet),” according to the motion.

“This is a chance for this council to put its money where its mouth is and … actually take action and say mandated mansions in the 21st century is not more important than creating housing right next to UBC,” Bremner said in an interview before airing his motion at council.

West Point Grey is a pricey neighbourhood. Of the three properties on the market in the area Tuesday, a seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom mansion was priced at $28 million and a four-bed, six-bath pied-à-terre ran for the lucky-sounding sum of $18.88 million. The third property, a four-bed, two-bathroom shack, was listed at a meagre $14.88 million. “Build your dream home nested in the heart of your own ‘Stanley Park’,” the listing stated.

Bremner said he saw rundown properties “the size of football fields” while on a recent walking tour in the neighbourhood with advocacy group Abundant Housing Vancouver.

“I saw just how dilapidated and derelict many of them are. The rest are owned by numbered corporations, largely out of country, passing amongst each other to avoid property transfer tax,” he said, adding with a laugh that the properties were so large that “you could build six storeys … and not see your neighbour.”

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