It’s a common sentiment in Vancouver: If you’re going to build something new, you should start with the best possible construction possible.
The city is currently working on a new building policy that aims to make it easier for those looking to buy a house to do so.
Vancouver City Council approved the policy at its next meeting on Thursday, but there are still some kinks to work out.
“The City of Vancouver has put together a process for building, the process is still a little bit in flux,” said Councillor Geoff Meggs, who voted against the policy.
It was proposed in June to help ease concerns about affordability.
The city estimates a new policy will bring $1 billion into the city’s economy.
Some experts have suggested the policy could help ease some of the concerns about new construction in Vancouver.
“The whole process is designed to provide the same quality of housing, to the same people who would be buying a home, so the people who are actually going to buy the house will have that same kind of experience,” said Amanda Stewart, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.
There are also some concerns about the policy’s impact on existing housing stock, and the possibility it could create a bubble in Vancouver’s housing market.
“This is something that we have been warning about, there’s going to be an overhang of new housing coming in, and we’re going into this new wave of supply coming in,” Stewart said.
A new policy may also create a challenge for those in need.
“There’s a lot of people who might be struggling to find housing, and they may need a home to start a family, or a place to go, but it’s going be hard for a lot more people to access that,” said Sarah McBride, a social work practitioner and founder of the Centre for Affordable Housing.
And in the meantime, some of Vancouver’s best homes are going to stay empty.
Last year, the city announced it was planning to build three million new homes by 2035, but many have yet to be built.
In the meantime though, the new policy is helping to ease some concerns.
“It’s going in the right direction, and I think it’s good for the City of BC and for the entire country,” Councillors Meggers and McBride said.
“We’re looking at building houses for a much wider range of people, but I think the City Council is doing a great job of making sure that it’s really accessible.”