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Vancouver considers putting housing before mountain views


Vancouver’s magnificent mountain vistas will be front and centre at city hall next week, when councillors will debate whether to ease view protection rules to make room for more construction.

A staff report suggests eliminating or reducing some of the city’s decades-old view cones, would add approximately 200 million extra square feet for future housing, hotels and office space.

“What we want to do is really maximize how much housing we can deliver on those sites, and that includes rental housing and below-market,” said Coun. Peter Meiszner.

The proposal will be presented to council on July 10, and appears to have consensus from a council that’s often divided

“A lot of those views were actually taken from a car-centric perspective, so they are great views if you're driving down the street, they're not actually great views if you are walking down as a pedestrian,” said Coun. Pete Fry.

But Fry is disappointed the staff report offers no guarantee that if the views protections are altered, more affordable housing would be built.

“In reality, this is just about making space available to build. So that could be housing, commercial hotels, office buildings, what have you,” explained Fry.

The report does not suggest elimination of view cones altogether, except in spots where tree growth now blocks sightlines, like Choklit Park in the Westside.

“It's really to strike of balance between preserving and enhancing the views that we have, while also removing unnecessary regulation and red tape,” said Meiszner

The view cones policy has been around since 1989, and was introduced to ensure the positions, heights and styles of new buildings, were tightly regulated to preserve mountain and ocean views. Top Stories

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