Article content continued
But council didn’t approve, reject or modify the proposed changes. Instead, they voted, 6-5, to defer the decision to some point in the future pending further consultation.
There was a stark difference in the way some councillors described the situation at the July 24 meeting, which ran until 10 p.m. on a Friday as council worked through several days of packed agendas before their August break.
For NPA Coun. Colleen Hardwick, things were moving too fast, she saying these changes shouldn’t be “rushed through.”
“There is no need to push this through now,” Hardwick said. “We are in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of summer, and many residents are not aware of the major changes being proposed here tonight.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Mayor Kennedy Stewart said this council is gaining a reputation for moving too slowly to address what most of them have described as a housing crisis.
“We’re criticized as a council for delaying, for being slower than most other municipalities,” Stewart told council. “I want to vote on this this evening, and I want to get on with building more rental housing in this city.”
As Stewart pointed out, in the commercial zones council was looking at, developers can currently build four-storey condo projects without seeking a rezoning. Stewart wants to push developers toward building more rentals, saying: “I cannot vote for more condos.”
Other councillors too insisted it was worth acting quickly. OneCity Coun. Christine Boyle, and NPA councillors Melissa De Genova, Lisa Dominato, and Sarah Kirby-Yung, also opposed the delay.