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As Vancouver’s fledgling city council slogged through a marathon round of meetings during its first few weeks, you could sense the disparate group was trying mightily to get along.

It didn’t go badly on broad issues such as creating a city office to support renters. But really, what’s not to like about that? More than half of Vancouverites rent. And this election made it clear providing more affordable rental housing is one of the city’s most urgent challenges.

Green Party Councillor Adriane Carr’s motion to begin work on a new city plan was also approved. There was some dickering over wording, but it was smoothed over quickly, and public engagement will begin in the spring. This, too, was a high-level directive that will certainly keep city staff hopping but did not prescribe any immediate change. Again, fairly easy for everyone to agree on, at least until recommendations for change are made.

The real test of council solidarity will begin when it comes time to tinker with zoning and density. The first flash of pique came during NPA Councillor Colleen Hardwick’s motion to roll back blanket duplex zoning across Vancouver, an 11th-hour change adopted by the previous council.

Ms. Hardwick argued there was inadequate public consultation and was upset when council colleagues delayed voting on her motion. City staff say 10,000 residents were consulted over the 14 months prior to November, 2017, when the Housing Vancouver Strategy was passed and that support for duplexes was strong across the city. Still, history gives us reason to believe Ms. Hardwick and her NPA colleagues are likely getting pushback against density from west-side residents.

For example, in 2010, the view of West Point Grey residents was reflected in the neighbourhood “vision” prepared as part of the CityPlan process, intended to chart the course for future growth. The plan expressed tepid support for more duplexes in specific locations, but rejected fourplexes, row houses or apartments of any kind.

Politically, the city’s traditional fault lines are well known. Non-Partisan Association centre-right councillors, who garner more support from the city’s wealthier, density-averse, owner-occupied west side, tend to oppose changes to single-family zoning. OneCity and COPE, whose supporters tend to herald from the humbler east side where affordability is more of an issue (and historically at least, many properties were investor owned), tend to be more accepting of density, particularly if it entails social or subsidized housing.

The Greens are a wild card. Ms. Carr, the only incumbent Green, seems to take a dim view of development and has voted accordingly over the years. Her two new Green colleagues, Councillors Pete Fry and Michael Wiebe, seem more density friendly, but these are early days.

Far to the other side of the political spectrum is Jean Swanson, the lone COPE councillor, whose concerns lie solely with the city’s most disadvantaged people. Ms. Swanson’s motion to end evictions for renovation purposes, commonly known as demovictions, won’t sit well with colleagues more aligned with individual property rights. She wants a citywide tenant protection and relocation policy and assurances that tenants evicted for renovations can return to renovated apartments at the same rents. She believes her motion is a long shot, but hopes the dozens of tenants signed up to speak to the motion will sway her council colleagues.

Wrangling the whole show is Mayor Kennedy Stewart, who leans left but is a pragmatic sort who knows the only way he’ll get anything done is to form coalitions. His closest ally may be OneCity’s Christine Boyle, but his big job will be to make common cause with the Greens, and, on a case by case basis, COPE or the NPA.

Look to Ms. Swanson to be the biggest disruptor on council, because she cares chiefly about only one segment of the population. So far, relationships are cordial, she says. The NPA’s Melissa de Genova has been kindly walking her through the mechanics of council procedure. But don’t look to her to ever co-operate with developers seeking to build market condominium towers. “Being nice is fine, but that doesn’t mean I’m going vote for something that is going to screw the people that I’m trying to represent.”

Look out, Mayor Stewart. There are plenty of fireworks still to come.

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