Councilor Wants False Creek South Leases on Town Owned Land Renewed “Immediately”
Thousands of False Creek South residents living in multi-family apartment buildings on land owned by the City of Vancouver have faced uncertainty for years about whether their long-term leases will be renewed.
But a city councilor now wants that to change much sooner rather than later.
If approved, a motion from TEAM Councilor Colleen Hardwick would direct municipal staff to proceed “immediately” with lease extensions for all strata leases, and then to initiate lease renewal negotiations, as well as lease renewal for all cooperative leases.
Hardwick’s motion also seeks to provide existing residents with security of tenure at a rate they can afford. She writes that lease renewal policy considerations should be undertaken in public.
False Creek South runs from the east of the Burrard Street Bridge to the west of the Cambie Street Bridge. The 80 acres of False Creek South Municipal Government contain approximately 1,800 homes built in the 1970s and early 1980s. This includes six co-ops totaling 573 units, four market rental properties totaling 124 units, six non-profit rental properties totaling 455 dwellings and 13 strata buildings totaling 669 dwellings.
1,354 additional units are on land owned by the private sector or other levels of government.
All properties located on city-owned land are subject to 60-year leases, which will expire over the next 15 to 25 years, between 2036 and 2046.
“As the leases have not yet been negotiated, existing residents are under significant stress after more than a decade of meetings with the City,” the motion reads.
“The residents nevertheless expressed their support for collaborative community planning to densify their neighborhood and further diversify the social mix in order to include more young people, Aboriginals, recent immigrants and a ‘care campus’ with supportive housing for seniors and people who have experienced homelessness. “
This approach, such as ‘collaborative community planning to densify’ and a ‘care campus’, refers to a 2019 vision formulated by the False Creek South Neighborhood Association (FCSNA) which calls for one million square feet of new space. additional floor space for housing and commercial space, including an Elderly Health Services Center at the current False Creek Public Tennis Club site. FCSNA’s resident-focused concept would be largely achieved through infill, while retaining existing buildings through new long-term leases.
Additionally, Hardwick is asking city staff to conduct False Creek South community planning in a manner that is “public, outside of confidentiality, in full collaboration with existing residents and other interest groups, by the planning department, using neighborhood planning and public engagement techniques.
In February 2021, city staff conducted a public consultation on the future of False Creek South and the possibility of providing additional affordable housing and business development to support the Metro Core economy. At the time, it was said that the engagement was being conducted from the perspective of the municipal government landowner – connected but independent of the city’s False Creek South neighborhood planning program, which was suspended in 2018.
The town’s properties in False Creek South fall under the municipal government’s Real Estate Endowment Fund (PEF), which is managed separately from other town properties for investment purposes. The City of Vancouver owns approximately 700 PEF properties across the city, with a combined value of approximately $ 5.7 billion, as of 2018.
The False Creek South lands are among the city’s most valuable properties under the PEF.
City council is due to deliberate on Hardwick’s motion as early as Tuesday, October 5.