By Ryan Hines
May 26th, 2017
VANCOUVER — In light of the housing crisis, hundreds of lots zoned for single-family detached houses will be available for pre-sale this summer. Vancouver International Airport, in cooperation with the city of Richmond, has kindly offered the green spaces along its runways and taxiways to the hungry residential market. The plan is to have a residential-airport community where cars and planes share the same space and residents are free to wander the airport grounds. Driveways will connect houses to the runway, and residents will be granted express access in and out through the airport gates. Plans for an onsite school are also in the talks.
“The spaces between the runways have been vacant since the airport was built,” explained Gregg Dichmond, President and CEO of the Vancouver Airport Management. “I don’t know why they’re empty, but I do know they’re a waste of space, especially in the current housing-shortage climate. Like, we don’t even park planes there.”
He hopes that selling the plots, which have low land-value evaluations due to excessive noise pollution and shockingly low flight paths above, will combat the influx of expensive housing in Vancouver.
“It hurts me to see Vancouver bogged down in an inflated housing market,” said Dichmond, “and I feel this decision will provide Vancouverites with more affordable housing.”
Low-cost housing is not the only benefit anticipated from this development. It is also expected to stimulate employment in the airport sector, as residents will have employment opportunities, literally, in their backyards.
Additionally, there will be no need for recreational spaces in the airport, as the airport itself is the ultimate playground for children. Landing gears will take the place of monkey bar, evacuation slides will replace playground slides, and engine bays will provide great hiding spots for hide-and-seek goers.
Still, some are vocal against the decision and claim that the plan is extremely dangerous. In particular, Craig Blose of Selltheby’s International Realty, Vancouver claims that the plan threatens the already stable housing market.
“Vancouver’s housing market is more vibrant and thriving than it has ever been,” he boasted in an interview on Wednesday. “Selling cheap land on the airport will put our booming economy at risk. Expensive housing is what makes this city famous, so why should we let the concerns of the lower class jeopardize Vancouver’s great title and my salary?”
There are also concerns raised by the Vancouver Urban Advancement Institute (UAI), who say the plan is a misuse of the property and that there are other options more beneficial to the people of Vancouver.
“We should be focusing on the construction of multi-story apartments, not single-family detached homes,” said Jeanette Austyns, CEO of YMCZ Metro Vancouver and Board Director at UAI. “The spaces on the airport are perfect for ten-story apartments, which I can use to cram all these low-income families into and cut down the stack of inquiries on my desk.”
The source of Vancouver’s housing crisis is a shortage of rental units, with vacancies hovering just above zero. The Vancouver UAI has been supporting the construction of cheap apartments with sub-par standards to alleviate the shortage.
“Public safety is not our top priority,” Austyns told us. “We need to get families off the streets and provide cheap housing as quickly as possible.”
As it stands, Vancouver International Airport remains steadfast on its plan. The lots are scheduled for pre-sale this July, and the project is slated for completion in the spring of next year. Each lot is expected to sell for $750k.