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Housing Mix Policy to increase options for Vancouver families

July 7 2016

"This important policy will help make our neighbourhoods more family friendly and vibrant, and ensure that as Vancouver grows, families can find housing options that work for them." - Mayor Gregor Robertson

Family laughing with mom and two children

To increase housing options for Vancouver families, a report to Council next week will recommend new housing mix policies to increase the supply of family homes in new strata and rental buildings.

"Vancouver is growing and we need more housing built for families - historically the City didn't ensure enough was built to meet demand," says Mayor Gregor Robertson. "This important policy will help make our neighbourhoods more family friendly and vibrant, and ensure that as Vancouver grows, families can find housing options that work for them."

Policy recommendations

The policy being put forward recommends a minimum supply of family units be included in all new rezoning projects:

  • A minimum requirement of 35% family units (25% two bedroom and 10% three or more bedrooms) in residential strata projects, like condominiums;

  • A minimum target of 35 per cent two and three bedroom family units for secured market rental buildings.

Current City policy

The current policies typically target a minimum 25% two and three bedroom units in new strata and rental. This policy change would ensure that as the city grows, higher density housing will create more room for families and larger households.

Over the last year staff have provided development applicants with notification about this potential policy change. As a result, the report recommends that the policy apply to all new rezoning applications received after the policy is adopted by Council.

If approved, this policy will apply to rezonings city-wide and supersede any existing family housing requirements in Council-approved community plans, such as Joyce-Collingwood Precinct Plan, Cambie Corridor, etc. Certain exceptions are outlined in the policy. 

Updates coming for for high-density housing guidelines

To improve the affordability, flexibility and livability of family units, staff are also seeking Council direction to review and update the High-Density Housing for Families with Children Guidelines. Through robust public consultation and engagement with urban families, the local development community, and other stakeholders, the guidelines will be modernized to meet the needs of today’s families. City staff will report back to council with the approved guidelines in spring 2017.

See Council report