Those 152 non-market homes — which Pinnacle will “deliver turnkey to the city” — were cited as a major factor among some of the eight councillors who supported the project.
The application was even supported by COPE Coun. Jean Swanson, who has consistently voted against new rental and condo developments, which she criticizes for not being affordable for the city’s lowest-income residents.
“I actually hate the idea of building luxury palaces in the sky,” Swanson said. “But we are absolutely desperate for social housing… So I’m going to cave to all of this and vote for it.”
OneCity Coun. Christine Boyle said: “These types of extra tall, shiny towers with luxury condos and a bit of social housing are not my favourite way for us to be delivering affordable housing, but they have been the heavy lifters in meeting our social housing targets, and I get that.”
In the final stretch of the six-hour public hearing, which followed more than two years of Pinnacle working with city staff on the rezoning, De Genova introduced a motion, which, as written, directed: “That council refer this project back to work with the staff to consideration (sic) options possible for rental housing, in addition to the 153 turnkey units of social housing.”
Eventually, De Genova’s referral motion failed, with only her and fellow NPA Couns. Lisa Dominato and Colleen Hardwick in support. In the final vote, only De Genova and Hardwick opposed the 601 Beach rezoning.
But for a while there, following along with council’s virtual meeting online, it was hard to guess which way they were leaning.