A Tale of Four Cities: Reports from the Front Lines of BC’s Affordability Crisis
Presented by: Emilie Adin (City of New Westminster), Michael Epp (City of North Vancouver), Lee-Ann Garnett (City of Burnaby), and Andrea Hudson (City of Victoria)
Given the conference was held in British Columbia, it was fitting to have a session dedicated to housing affordability in the province. Municipal planners from the City of New Westminster, City of North Vancouver, City of Burnaby, and City of Victoria navigated their joint presentation by taking the viewers through a game of housing policy Snakes & Ladders. The snakes represented challenges or unintended consequences with policy implementation and ladders symbolized successful policies and strength.
Each city had an existing strength and problem to address which led the municipality to approach the problem and solution with a unique perspective even if utilizing the same policy. The policies are listed below:
Infill development incentives
Rental use zoning
Streamlined development application process
Tenant assistance policy
Undeveloped and abandoned land development incentives
A snapshot of the mural the Cahdco team created for the session on British Columbia’s approaches to affordable housing policies.
However, not all of the above housing policies were ladders or successful, and some had unintended consequences and cautions (snakes) for municipal planners such as, over-densification, lack of staff resources, uncontrolled market prices, lack of decision maker engagement, and the role and power of city council. This presentation highlighted challenges and successes implementing housing policies and the role of municipal planners in championing affordable housing projects.
Keynote Address: Planning and Designing Equitable Places for All
Speaker: Mitchell Silver (American Institute of Certified Planners) “When you say no to something, you say yes to something else”
As former City of New York Parks Commissioner, Mitchell Silver explored the application of equity, access, inclusion, and resiliency to advance the public welfare and improvement of public parks.
A snapshot of the mural the Cahdco team created for the keynote address on planning and equity.
Open spaces and public parks are important for residents and especially for those living in apartment buildings and dense cities. Centretown is one such community in Ottawa that is lacking high-quality parks. As such, many Cahdco developments include shared resident outdoor amenity space for residents to experience the benefits of outdoor spaces. Victory Gardens is a community garden at CCOC’s Beaver Barracks located in Centretown. Other Ottawa examples include Multifaith Housing Initiative’s (MHI) Veterans’ House which has extensive landscaping, including a dog run and both a healing and edible garden and MHI’s The Haven which is in proximity to a large park and includes “The Grande Allee” a pedestrian oriented public space.
Victory Gardens at CCOC’s Beaver Barracks. (Hobin Architecture, n.d.)
An edible garden at Multifaith Housing Initiative’s Veterans’ House.(Krista Jahnke Photography, n.d.)
Views from The Grande Allee at Multifaith Housing Initiative’s The Haven (Hobin Architecture, n.d.)
Finally, this keynote highlights the importance for anti-oppression and equity work and Indigenous reconciliation. Cahdco and CCOC are actively committed to this work as identified in the CCOC anti-oppression statement.