Kennedy Stewart promises renter protections under Broadway Plan ahead of fall election

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart unveiled plans for what he called the “strongest tenant protections in Canada” as part of the Broadway Plan proposal.

At a news conference Tuesday morning, the mayor announced two options for renters who could be displaced by developments along the Broadway corridor.

“These folks would be fully compensated with either a cash payout or the right to return to a new building at or below their current rents,” Stewart said. “I believe that we are at the dawn of a housing revolution in Vancouver.”

Both options touted during the campaign-style announcement are not exactly new. The plan for a cash payout to tenants who need to be relocated for developments or renovations already exists under the City of Vancouver’s current Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy

And the option for tenants to leave and then come back to the new development at the same, or lower rent was included in council’s staff presentation back in November.

The suggestion at that time was the right for tenants to return to new building “at rates comparable or lower than their previous rent.”

The mayor’s communications team said the new proposal is different because it offers the option to return at the “same” rent, instead of a “comparable” rent.

Still, Stewart said the cost of these options would “come from the builders.”

Bottom line:

No renter along Broadway will see their rents go up due to redevelopment, and many will even see it go down.

Read my full statement here: pic.twitter.com/6y8WxdAR1y

— Kennedy Stewart (@kennedystewart) May 3, 2022

NPA mayoral candidate John Coupar said the timing of Stewart’s announcement is “a bit of a stunt.”

“This is a staff report coming to council, it’s not Kennedy Stewart’s report,” Coupar said. “All the councillors will be voting on it, I think he's trying to take credit for something that isn’t really his.”

The city’s website describes the Broadway Plan as a “comprehensive area plan for Broadway between Clark Dr. and Vine St.,” a 30-year vision for new housing, jobs and amenities around the new Broadway Subway.

Planning and engagement of the project started in 2019 and the draft plan will go to council in two weeks for a vote.