After two days of public hearings, Vancouver city council has voted to rezone the majority of the city to enable duplex use in single-family home neighbourhoods.
The decision, approved in the final city council meeting of Gregor Robertson’s decade-long tenure as mayor of Vancouver, is also one of his most sweeping policies.
Under the rezoning, duplexes — houses divided into two apartments, with a separate entrance for each — are now legal in 99 per cent of all single-family neighbourhoods in Vancouver.
According to the city, that comprises 67,000 single family lots, around 52 per cent of city’s land mass.
Seven councillors voted in favour, while four were against.
The decision was meant to be voted on Tuesday night, but was pushed until Wednesday after dozens of speakers showed up to voice their opinion.
Speakers were divided into two camps — those who felt that rezoning areas to allow for more density would provide housing options that Vancouver desperately needs, and those who expressed concern that rushing such vast changes through would come with undue risks.
“We heard, on the one hand, that this was a tiny step going way too slow, on the other end that this was a massive step going way too fast,” said councillor Andrea Reimer, shortly before she voted yes.
Reimer compared many of the concerns about the rezoning to those expressed before Vancouver began allowing laneway homes.
“There was a sense that neighbourhoods would literally come to an end … it turns out those hypotheses did not come to pass,” she said.
Councillor Melissa De Genova voted against the zoning change.
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