Viaduct removal mega project could harm liveability and rents

About 1000 new condos, affordable rentals or social housing units could go into these 2 city owned blocks along union street. About twice the size of Woodwards.

Vancouver City Council is primed to discuss a  “framework plan” to remove the Georgia Street Viaducts on 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 24th, 2012 on the 3rd floor of city hall.

Removing the viaducts could be a positive move for low-income residents especially if the 2 giant blocks of city owned land under the viaducts could be developed with social housing. But what are the chances of getting social housing there? Since 26% of city residents live in poverty, 65% of Dtes residents are low-income and mostly living in about 5000 Dtes SRO hotels that need to be replaced, you would think social housing would be a priority.  CCAP estimates that about 1000 units can be built on these 2 blocks.

According to the city, it would cost about $100 million to get rid of the viaducts and for parks/road creation. They could reap $75 million by selling its land for condos and commercial uses. The city imagines 6-15 story buildings on these 2 sites with 20% affordable housing on these 2 blocks.

Their definition of affordable is housing for income earners between $20,000 and $90,000 a year. So far, the city’s proposal
sounds like a massive gentrification project.  With gentrification, comes more displacement, typically through rent increases and reno-victions.

As for livability, those of us who manage to stay living on Cordova, Hastings, Pender and Powell Streets in the coming years will definitely see extra traffic with the current viaduct plan. The city expects 915 more cars a day. They could be low balling the number of extra cars for sure. Hastings has the greatest potential to take some of the traffic displaced by the viaducts. Will the 50km/h speed limit need to be reinstated for it to work? Hastings and Main area has the highest pedestrian death rate in the city. VANDU did a huge amount of work to get the speed-limit at 30km/h. ~wp