Local First

The Butterfly marketing campaign is first and foremost targeted to Metro Vancouver residents and workers for 30 days. This definition was adopted from City Council’s motion of October 17, 2017. This gives Metro Vancouver residents and those working in Vancouver the first opportunity to express their interest in buying a home. When sales begin, Metro Vancouver residents and workers will have first selection on homes. For example, if two buyers were interested in a specific home and one was a not a resident or worker or new arrival to Metro Vancouver the “local” would get preference and have the opportunity to purchase that home.

add remove What are the origins of the Local First Program?

Our local first initiatives originated over 12 years ago when Westbank brought the homes at Woodward’s to market. Westbank offered existing residents of the Downtown Eastside the first opportunity to purchase a home in the project by allowing them to come in and purchase before the general public.

Westbank adopted the program again in 2010 for its project 60 W Cordova in partnership with Vancity. 60 W Cordova offered accessible home ownership to people that ordinarily could not afford to purchase a home in Vancouver – especially downtown. In order to insure that the goals for accessible home ownership and the project contributed to the Downtown Eastside Neighborhood, homes at 60 W Cordova were sold exclusively to residents, workers, or volunteers of the Downtown Eastside.

In 2016 in response to concerns from West Vancouver City Council that Westbank’s development at Horseshoe Bay should be oriented to the local community, Westbank proposed adopting the program from 60 W Cordova in Horseshoe Bay and proposed exclusively marketing the project to West Vancouver residents and workers for the first 30 days and Metro Vancouver residents and workers for 60 days thereafter. This gave first opportunity for local West Vancouver residents and workers followed by Metro Vancouver workers and residents to purchase.

add remove Have the local first programs achieved their objectives?

Yes. 60 W Cordova provided 88 homes to people that ordinarily could not afford to purchase a home in Vancouver. West Vancouver residents and workers had first opportunity to purchase in Horseshoe Bay followed by Metro Vancouver residents and had first selection of homes before those outside of the exclusive marketing periods.

add remove Does the program only run for 30 to 60 days?

No. Westbank will adopt the program for entire length of time that the project is being marketed for sale.

add remove I applied to immigrate to Canada or I just got a job in Vancouver and live elsewhere currently? What do I do? May I buy a home?

Westbank is strong believer that one of Canada’s greatest strengths is our multiculturalism, and that one of our core values as a nation is in supporting immigration. We also strongly encourage job growth in Vancouver. Therefore, we will welcome newcomers to Vancouver to purchase provided they intend to live, work and contribute to the community.

add remove Why doesn’t Westbank restrict any person who is not a local from purchasing?

We are concerned about the ethics and legality of turning away a buyer who is ready and willing to purchase our product when it is available and not already being purchased by a “local.” For example, imagine if you went into a retail store in Vancouver, or anywhere in the else in the world and were told even though the product is available and unsold you are not allowed to buy it because of where you are from. Vancouver residents are allowed to buy in other cities and we believe it is unethical and overreaching to ask businesses to restrict their sales to specific groups or prevent “foreign” groups from purchasing.

What we do agree on is that one of our core roles is to help build communities and in that respect we want our homes to be purchased by people who will occupy them and contribute to the communities we develop in.

add remove Does Westbank allow bulk purchases?

No. Buyers are not permitted to buy more than one home unless they can prove that the second home is for a family member.

add remove How do you enforce the program?

The sales team for each project receives training on how to identify local residents and workers. The purchase of a home is often one of the largest transactions a person makes in their life and therefore the sales process is lengthier with closer relationships developed between the sales team and buyer compared to when purchasing other products. The sales team also verifies driver’s licenses, utility bills and employment letters to insure the buyer included in the Local First program meets the criteria. Lastly buyers may be asked to sign a declaration to confirm they meet the program’s criteria to further confirm their eligibility.

add remove When the local first exclusive marketing period ended at Horseshoe Bay was the project flooded with foreign buyer wanting to purchase?

No. Our research and experience indicates the 15% Foreign Buyer tax has significantly dampened demand from foreigners for our real estate. Even when the local first marketing period ended the majority of prospective buyers were Metro Vancouver residents and workers.

add remove I heard Westbank has offices around the World? Why is that?

Even though our roots are in Vancouver, Westbank has expanded internationally. We operate and have offices in the following countries: Canada, China, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and the United States. We are significant developers in many cities outside of Vancouver and our business in these countries has created hundreds of jobs in Vancouver as a result.

add remove Why do I see marketing of Westbank around the world?

Westbank has been proudly rooted in Vancouver for almost a quarter century. Over that time we have contributed to the local housing supply on all levels while growing an international brand that proudly takes our Canadian expertise into other markets. Vancouver is rich in its multi-cultural fabric and some of our projects have contributed to enriching that aspect of our city by attracting a global audience.

The real estate world is now, more than ever, a global one through social media and instant communication. We have been disappointed in the past with some appropriation of our campaigns. In an effort to be the primary driver of our sales and marketing, we are working more closely with our own global offices, which we are confident will prevent the spread of misinformation and assist our efforts to better enforce the Local First program.

add remove A foreigner buyer purchased? Is this fair?

The foreign buyer would be subjected to the 15% foreign buyer tax which is used by the government for its affordable housing fund. So the foreign buyer has paid extra for the privilege of acquiring property in Vancouver.

add remove Westbank is not legally required to adopt a Local First program at The Butterfly. Why is Westbank doing this?

Westbank is sensitive to the concerns of the community that is our home. We share people’s concerns about the importance of creating neighborhoods and believe residents should have the ability to live where they work. We understand it can be difficult for a Vancouverite to buy a pre-sale home when there are foreign buyers in the market. Westbank believes extending our pioneering Local First program to The Butterfly responds to our concerns and those expressed by Vancouverites. We are committed to making it a success.

add remove How does The Butterfly improve the current situation or contribute to the community if you don’t purchase/live in it?

This began as a means to preserve a church, enabling it to stay at the heart of Vancouver and expand its social programs that serves a very broad range of our community – a community far beyond its congregation.

It also enabled us to create much needed housing, turning an empty parking lot and row of deteriorating single family homes into 338 homes, 61 rental homes, and a new ancillary church space that includes a day care, gymnasium multipurpose rooms, amenity galleria and new office space, all in one project. We believe this is a much better use of the land for the city that will add to the limited housing and affordable rental supply downtown.

add remove Tell me about Westbank’s history in Vancouver.

Westbank has a long and proud history in Vancouver spanning more than two decades. While our high-profile luxury projects garner much of the attention, we have worked quietly and effectively over the past 24 years, creating thousands of jobs in this community and developing significant rental and affordable housing in Vancouver; Woodward’s, 60 West Cordova and The Lauren are among the most notable. We have, and believe we should be, a significant contributor to the health and wellness of our community, along with the creation of lasting works that further enrich Vancouver’s cultural fabric. That means financial donations to health organizations and investment in next generation energy and office systems, collaborative creation of public art works, support of Canadian refugee programs, creation or expansion of green space and allocation of funds for CACs – community amenity contributions – which include services and spaces for childcare, seniors care, food programs for disadvantaged citizens and student art spaces.

add remove I don’t want to buy in The Butterfly. Do I benefit?

The Butterfly generated one of the largest community amenity contribution in the history of Vancouver. $91,305,225 will go to the City for uses including but not limited to:

Church Heritage Restoration Premium Costs ($21,700,000)
Affordable Housing Credit ($6,500,000)

Cash CACs ($63,105,225)

  • Contingency for Church Heritage Restoration Work ($4,300,000)
  • Strategic and city-wide public benefits ($6,000,000) — This $6.0 million allocation will be targeted to support strategic city-wide public benefits in the area of housing and other Council priorities, such as housing site acquisition at 356 East Hastings Street.
  • West End Public Benefit Strategy ($52,805,225) — The West End Public Benefit Strategy (PBS) identifies public benefits and infrastructure to support growth in the West End. The CACs offered will support both short-term and long-term priorities in and around the plan area. As cash CACs are received from this and other rezonings, funding will be earmarked for specific priority projects to optimize the efficient delivery of the PBS. The recommended preliminary allocation of the cash CAC from this rezoning is as follows:
    • Community and Civic Facilities ($21,000,000) — To support delivery of new facilities or the expansion of existing facilities used for recreation, library, public safety and/or cultural spaces. Examples of these facilities include the Vancouver Aquatic Centre, West End Community Centre complex, and area Fire Halls.
    • Parks and Open Spaces ($10,500,000) — To support delivery of new or expanded parks and open spaces, such as improvement in the waterfront parks to accommodate increased demand associated with growth, future phases of the Davie Village public space improvements plan and/or other parking improvements in the area.
    • Childcare ($10,500,000) — To support delivery of new or expanded childcare facilities. This may include the construction of a 69-space facility for 0-4 year olds and new school-age care at the West End Community Centre, new and expanded childcare in elementary schools to be renewed (Lord Roberts, Coal Harbour) and/or potential top-up funds for projects in West End market developments.
    • Transportation ($8,000,000) — To support transportation improvements, such as the Bute Street greenway and/or other pedestrian and cycling improvements in the area. CD-1 Rezoning: 969 Burrard Street and 1019-1045 Nelson Street – RTS 12069 25
    • Affordable Housing ($2,805,225) — To be allocated to the Affordable Housing Reserve to increase the City’s affordable housing supply, which may include strategic site acquisitions for future supportive housing and/or social housing projects.

This CAC will further contribute to restoring and seismically upgrading one of Vancouver’s historic buildings, First Baptist Church, which is significantly at risk of collapse in a seismic event. The Butterfly will further allow the church to expand its social services programing and outreach to the community.

add remove I see advertisements for The Butterfly in multiple languages. Why is that?

Westbank is committed to inclusivity and advertises to all Vancouverites in their language of preference.

According to past Census data, the Vancouver population’s ethnic breakdown is roughly as follows:

Population group Population  % of total population
European Canadian 272,650 46.2%
Visible Minorities 305,620 59.9%
South Asian 35,140 6%
Chinese 163,230 27.7%
Black 5,720 1%
Filipino 35,490 6%
Latin American 9,595 1.6%
Arab 2,975 0.5%
Southeast Asian 17,870 3%
West Asian 6,885 1.2%
Korean 8,780 1.5%
Japanese 10,080 1.7%
Visible minority, n.i.e. 1,175 0.2%
Multiple visible minorities 8,680 1.5%

This is not an offering for sale. Any such offering can only be made by way of disclosure statement. E.&O.E