Skip to content

Richmond council approves 330 rental units despite residents' concerns

Neighbours cited fear of rising crime and parking problems if low-cost, high-density rental development allowed to proceed
Fifty townhouses on Azure Road, Richmond B.C., will be replaced with 330 units of rental housing.| Maria Rantanen, Richmond News

More crime, more parking problems and more traffic – that’s what residents of the Azure Road area of Richmond, B.C., said will come if a 330-unit rental building is constructed in their neighbourhood. 

More than a dozen people – residents from the area –  spoke against the proposed rental project at a recent city council public hearing.

But the city of Richmond approved the project anyway.

Only one person, Evan Dunfee, who ran unsuccessfully for council in the October 15 election, urged the mayor and councillors to approve it. 

With more than 50 per cent of the units having two bedrooms or more, this will attract "desperately needed young families to Richmond,” he said.

The residents also spoke against the high density of the project – 330 units where there are currently 50 townhouses – as well as privacy issues.

The property was originally zoned for low-density townhouses.

Much of the rest of the neighbourhood is single-family homes, many built in the 1960s, but others were built more recently with large square footages and valued between $2 million and $3 million.

Many residents brought up the traffic and parking in the area, pointing out hospital staff park in the neighbourhood while they’re at work, and that the streets are curvy and dangerous.  

In the end, the project was approved but with a plan to consult with the neighbourhood on the parking and other issues they brought up at the meeting. 

Coun. Harold Steves, who voted in favour, was particularly concerned at the suggestion by the opponents that crime would increase if the rental buildings were built.

“I find it really disturbing to hear that having low-end market [rental] housing is going to increase the crime rate in the area,” Steves said.