Map of luxury high-rise towers proposed for Jericho Lands, showing the number of storeys in each building.
November 3, 2023
New poll shows nearly 72% of Vancouverites oppose Jericho Lands’ luxury high-rise project based on density 3 times Hong Kong’s, up to 49-storey towers and 13,000 units
VANCOUVER – A new Vancouver-wide public opinion poll shows that 72 per cent of respondents want City Council to reject a proposed Jericho Lands high-rise development with density three times greater than that of Hong Kong and multiple towers up to 49 storeys, with 13,000 units for 28,000 residents.
The poll for the Jericho Coalition, a group of concerned citizens opposing the current proposals for the Jericho Lands, was conducted by Forum Research and found that the density, height and environmental impact of the high-rise project were all reasons for strong opposition to the proposal. Vancouver Council is expected to debate the proposal this fall.
And the poll also showed equally strong support for the Jericho Coalition’s alternative low-rise vision that allows for significant new missing middle affordable housing without the huge drawbacks of skyscrapers.
“This massive luxury high-rise tower development is too big, too high, too dense and too environmentally damaging,” says Murray Hendren, a spokesperson for the Jericho Coalition. “Vancouverites want to see more affordable housing in a low- to mid-rise alternative that can still be profitable for the developers.”
The random poll completed in late September found that 71.8 per cent of 401 respondents in a telephone Interactive Voice Response survey agreed that the high-rise proposal’s extreme density was a good reason for Vancouver City Council to reject it (60.3 per cent strongly agreeing and another 11.5 per cent somewhat agreeing).
It also showed that 70.1 per cent of respondents feel the proposal – which has a total of 60 high-rise towers – is too tall for the Jericho Lands area, which borders on several of Vancouver’s best-loved beaches, including Jericho, Locarno and Spanish Banks.
And 68.3% of respondents said they want to see more affordable housing for local middle-income people in the project—more than the minimum 30% social and below-market rental housing required by the city, while 64.6 per cent said Vancouver City Council should reject the proposal because of its negative environmental impacts.
The Jericho Coalition alternative plan with low and medium-rise buildings constructed with wood and mass timber was supported by 71.8 per cent of respondents over the current proposal of 60 mostly concrete and steel towers. The alternative would see 7,200 units in courtyard buildings for about 16,000 people at a human scale with more green space, says Susan Fisher, another Jericho Coalition spokesperson.
“This poll shows that Vancouverites want to see more lower-rise livable housing built in a way that is environmentally sustainable and that is affordable – not high-rise condos that will change the city landscape negatively forever,” Fisher says. “Despite a very strong negative community response to the original proposal, the developers came back with even more towers and higher density. That is not what Vancouverites want.”
The poll also found that 75.6 per cent of respondents said the Jericho Lands high-rise tower proposal, which is majority-owned by the MST Development Corporation, a partnership of the xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations, should not be treated differently because it is indigenous-owned and should be considered in the same way as any other developer in Vancouver. The MST Development Corporation is one of the city’s biggest developers. About 25 per cent of the Jericho Lands is also owned by the Canada Lands Company, a federal agency.
“The Jericho Coalition is fully supportive of the creation of new livable and affordable housing on the Jericho Lands but the City has to be responsive to Vancouver residents’ concerns and ensure this developer meets the requirements of all development proposals,” said Hendren. “We would welcome discussing the alternative proposal we have put forward.
The Jericho Coalition says the poll shows that Vancouver residents support demands for low-rise, affordable, environmentally sustainable and livable housing at a human scale on the Jericho Lands, not high-rise concrete towers.
Forum Research is one of the country’s leading survey research firms, with offices across Canada and worldwide. Website: www.forumresearch.com