Lately the City of Vancouver has been telling us all how they are looking out for us, working to find solutions to the problems of minimum housing stock, diminishing numbers of heritage homes, and keeping Vancouver green — reducing our carbon footprint.
Now, according to this story in the Globe & Mail, they’ve managed to crush any good will they may have developed in these areas in just three simple steps:
Step One: Buy a heritage home and leave it empty for over a year
The COV purchased a lovely, restored, 1919 home at 3030 Victoria, in a great neighbourhood in 2016. They didn’t rent it out, no, they didn’t subdivide it so it could house more citizens — although the area is zoned for duplexes — no they left if empty for 17 months. Sure, they could start collecting money from themselves with the new empty houses tax, but that would not be a sustainable plan.
Step Two: Announce plans to rip down the house — and all the heritage houses on the block
Yikes! Lose housing stock AND lose valuable historic properties all in one move. The city planned — and still plans — to buy and tear down these homes to add more space to Trout Lake Park. It’s a nice park, my granddaughter plays softball there (Go Diamondbacks!) but tearing down these homes will apparently add a mere 1% to the existing space. Often the city buys a house, rips it down, and the other people on the block line up to sell their places. But in this case they didn’t want the other homeowners to hike up the already high housing prices once it was known that it was the city that was buying so they kept these plans on the DL. Now that’s another thing — each of these houses, eight in all, cost well over $1,000,000. In fact, if you could get them for under $1.5 million each it would be a miracle, 3030 Victoria sold for $1.6 million. So 8 houses = 8 x 1.5 million, or $12 million dollars just to increase the size of the park by 1%. And just to flog a dead premise — lose valuable HERITAGE housing stock.
Step Three: Send hundreds of tonnes of materials to landfills
Just 3 years ago, the COV was bemoaning the fact that heritage homes were being destroyed . And they were concerned about the amount of waste created by each demolition:
the average demolished house adds 50 tonnes of waste,
Even if significant portions of each house was recycled, and that’s not likely, it still means many truckloads of housing materials being dumped into the landfills.
I’m pretty steamed about this, and have already emailed the mayor and council (firstname.lastname@example.org) to ask them to reconsider this plan. That email address is a link, by the way, so feel free to vent a little spleen on our elected officials.