Now that we’re into the second week of January, the City of Vancouver has reflected on the steps its taken to address key issues over the last several months including housing, services and community planning.
“This year, we tackled the housing affordability crisis with actions such as approving 600 new temporary modular homes, opening more than 500 permanent social and supportive housing, and implementing the first full year of the empty homes tax,” said city manager Sadhu Johnston.
“As we head into 2019, we now have a clear mandate from council to get to work on building more affordable housing, protecting renters, reducing homelessness, tackling the opioid crisis, and supporting small businesses.”
In addition to the modular and social/supportive initiative, 1,000 affordable purpose-built rentals have been completed with another 1,000 on the way. The Vancouver Affordable Housing Endowment Fund was also established, dedicated to meeting the needs of residents. In the spring, new regulations to remove non-principal residences from the short-term rental market came into effect, and by three months in excess of 1,000 illegal units were shut down and 3,100 business licenses issued.
The city made investments to improve services in several areas. For example, creating over 1,000 childcare spaces; going forward with a Women’s Equity Strategy to make Vancouver more inclusive; expanding free public Wi-Fi throughout Vancouver (#VanWifi is the largest such free public network in Canada); and renovating levels eight and nine of the Vancouver Public Library to include a café, reading room, offices and community roof garden.
In February, city council green lit the Northeast False Creek Final Plan, which will guide the creation of a reimagined waterfront destination, new and renewed parks and open spaces, and the reconnection of Chinatown and Hogan’s Alley to the rest of the downtown core via an improved street network. After years of deliberation, the Broadway Subway is officially a go having secured funding from all branches of government.