Politics in the City of Vancouver is branded as a battle between Vision Vancouver on the “left” and the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) on the “right.” However, their policies have turned out to be virtually the same regarding development when each had the majority on council over the last three terms.
In 2007, then NPA Mayor Sam Sullivan created EcoDensity, which promoted increased density as the answer to the challenge of climate change. It effectively took the position that density is good and more is better.
The facts do not support this. Towers are the least energy efficient form of development because of their glass-wall, concrete construction and elevators. High density development inflates land values; this in turn increases redevelopment pressure on the more affordable older building stock. Only about 10% of the city’s cost of infrastructure and services for each tower is covered by development fees; the balance is subsidized by everyone’s property taxes. Increases in property taxes make home ownership more expensive.
As it became obvious that the supported community plans were under threat by EcoDensity, 23 neighbourhood associations from across the city banded together under an umbrella group called Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver (NSV). This led to a city-wide movement against the ill-conceived policy.