Out of Touch Politicians and Vancouver Demolition Disincentives

According to Vancouver Councilor Heather Deal, adding $4,800 to the cost of demolishing a house in Vancouver may slow the high rate of homes being demolished to make way for new construction. This was reported by CBC News in an article on June 5, 2014:

Knocking down a small home with a backhoe costs as little as $12,000, and the deconstruction ban could increase the cost by at least 40 per cent, she says. Coun. Deal says part of the aim is to make people think twice about knocking down an older home simply to replace it. “It’s the sort of thing people should budget for if they choose to disregard the value inherent in that building,” says Deal.

If anyone thinks that that this nominal extra cost will deter owner-occupiers and developers from “deconstructing” pre-1940 homes and building new than they are not familiar with the Vancouver real estate market reality. If developers stand to make tens or hundreds of thousands, what difference will this really make?

House being deconstructed

The good news is that more materials would be diverted from the landfill and either recycled or reused if this motion gets passed by council. I would go a step further and levy a fee on property owners who demolish houses that are still viable and use that revenue generated for affordable housing projects. I know, not very likely to happen.