Gentrification in Metro Vancouver

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Left Turn Left Turn's picture
Gentrification in Metro Vancouver

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://www.burnabynow.com/news/are-low-income-people-being-pushed-out-of... low-income people being pushed out of Metrotown?[/url]

Quote:

A community under attack.

It’s not only the name of a report by housing activists that sheds light on the effects the city’s development plans and demolitions have on the Metrotown neighbourhood, but a growing sentiment from the people who rent and live there.

This week, members of the Stop Demovictions Burnaby campaign gave the media a tour of an area undergoing redevelopment near Dunblane Avenue and Imperial Street.

The group chose the area because every building on the block is scheduled to be demolished and eventually developed into new highrise towers.

In all, 19 buildings will be demolished to make way for four development projects.

The study noted development companies Polygon and Amacon bought up all the apartments on the block.

The study also noted the 234 units on the block are only about a third of the 684 apartment units facing demolition in the Metrotown area. The study suggested nearly 1,400 people face eviction and displacement.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://globalnews.ca/news/2705388/activists-call-for-burnaby-to-save-old... call for Burnaby to save older apartment buildings from demolition[/url]

Quote:

Single father Martin Lenin Fernandez has worked for eight years to bring his two sons to Burnaby from his native Nicaragua. They finally arrived last month and just as the family was getting settled into his one-bedroom apartment in the Metrotown area, they were evicted.

Fernandez and his kids are the latest victim of plans to replace dozens of four-storey rental apartments with large multi-storey condo towers.

“This block is an example of what is going to happen to the rest of the area of Metrotown,” activist Ivan Drury said. “Every single building on the block of Dunblane and Imperial is scheduled to be demolished.”

“Metrotown is a community under attack by its own city government.”

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://www.burnabynow.com/news/city-will-give-demoviction-report-serious... will give demoviction report ‘serious consideration’[/url]

Quote:
A couple dozen members of a group pressuring the city to halt development in Metrotown made their way to council Monday night in hopes of an answer to their report and recommendations on the issue.

But it looks like the group will have to wait to find out what the city thinks.

Members of the Stop Demovictions Burnaby campaign were in council to present their study, A Community Under Attack, which looks at the effects of development in the Metrotown area and the displacement of residents from “demovictions.”

The report makes four recommendations including calling for the city to put a moratorium on demolishing apartment buildings, to rehouse the residents displaced by the “demovictions,” to create a new community plan that focuses on current residents most vulnerable to displacement and to dedicate city-owned land to social housing.

Here's what my friend Murray Martin wrote when he posted the article on Facebook:

Murray Martin wrote:
I was at City Hall last night and if 'serious consideration' means asking no questions and one councillor sleeping during the report, what is really meant is 'ignoring' the problems of working class people in Burnaby who cannot afford to own property. None of the 60 tenants surveyed had been contacted or recieved support from the City of Burnaby.

quizzical

lol i thought Burnaby's governance was soooooooo left and wonderful!!!!

Basement Dweller

quizzical wrote:

lol i thought Burnaby's governance was soooooooo left and wonderful!!!!

If you look at Burnaby city council, it is an old boys club. These guys have done a lot of good things over the years, but have lost touch in some ways. When they were young, a working class family could buy a home in Burnaby with a nice yard. In Metro Vancouver, back then especially, anyone who rents is seen as a lesser citizen. Maybe even of questionable character.

The most cynical part of me wonders if the renters are being ignored because Burnaby council figures they'll move out to Surrey or beyond, so don't matter politically.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The BCA has spent the last 25 years densifying Burnaby as part of a green strategy. Around all the Sky Train stations they have promoted highrise development. The housing issue runs into their green agenda. They are anti-pipeline and pro-parks and pro-density around mass transit sites. It is hard to see how they will proceed given that those issues have been their bread and butter for a long time. They win elections based on providing great community services and more parkland than any place else in Canada while being right in the middle of the 17 municipalities in Metro Vancouver when it comes to taxes.

Rightly or wrongly they have taken the view that as a municipality they will work with senior levels of government on issues like homelessness and affordability housing but they will not carry the ball alone in matters that they do not have the fiscal capability to deal with themselves. It is one of the areas that they are not very progressive about but instead are hard line pragmatists.

The BCA often cites a historic side to it. During the depression years the Burnaby counsel went bankrupt providing basic services to the people affected by losing their jobs. The provincial government that should have been paying for those social services imposed a trusteeship on the city in response to the bankruptcy. That Trustee took the main beach area at the foot of Willingdon and sold it at fore sale prices to the oil and gas industry.  That is why the Chevron refinery sits on land that used to be the cities main beach playground for citizens.

A few years ago they opened this new facility in one of the poorest areas of the city. So they are way better than most of Metro Vancouver but not perfect.

Quote:

Along with a six-lane, 25-metre-long pool, the facility boasts two waterslides, an extra-large hot tub, sauna and steam room. The leisure pool's kid-friendly features include a "lazy river," bubble bench, spray arches, a mini-playground structure and a large dumping bucket.

A two-lane, 15-metre long pool will have a warmer water temperature to accommodate people using it for rehabilitation, aquafit and lessons for young children.

And it's all fully accessible for people with disabilities, including a water elevator into the swim tank, a ramp with handrail into the whirlpool and zero-depth entry into the leisure pool from deck level.

The pool will be larger than most other facilities in the Lower Mainland, said Ellenwood, who noted the leisure components are very popular. "We'll get 1,500 to 2,000 visits a day by all ages."

It will also use the most up-to-date water disinfection technology-liquid chlorine, filtering sand and an ultraviolet system.

Most of the tile work was close to being completed during the tour and the pool is set to be filled and tested sometime this week.

Just across the hall will be another welcome addition to the community, a massive double gym that can be divided into four sections and is designed to receive lots of natural light, particularly from one corner made almost entirely of glass.

"This should take a lot of pressure off existing gym facilities," he said, noting the very high demand seen at Bonsor Rec Centre. "We needed this not only for this community but for all of South Burnaby."

An adjacent youth lounge comes with its own exterior entrance and door to the gym making it possible to eventually keep the youth centre open later while closing off the rest of the facility, said Ellenwood.

For now, the nearby KRIB youth centre will continue to operate but could eventually be phased out in favour of the new facility, he said.

Ellenwood noted that the games room, with foosball, a big TV and a pool table, is not exclusively for use by youth and will be located next to the seniors' snooker room on the second floor. "Hopefully the youth will integrate with the seniors. They'll have to co-exist with the seniors, which I think is healthy."

Also expected to take the pressure off Bonsor is the new cardio and weight room. At 650 square metres (7,000 square feet), it is 10 times larger than the similar facility at the old Eastburn Community Centre, and significantly bigger than Bonsor's which is about 4,500 square feet spread over two levels.

"It's very large but very large for a purpose because of high demand," he said.

Once the new community centre is finished, the fitness and weight-room equipment will be moved in, including new pieces and those from the interim fitness centre on Kingsway, which were purchased second-hand after being used by athletes at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Along with the snooker room, the new seniors centre will include a lounge and access to a number of other multi-purpose rooms for all ages, such as a dance and fitness room with a sprungwood floor and mirrors and a fine arts room. Two music rooms are also set up with acoustic baffling, providing soundproofing to allow for music lessons.

At the other end of the age spectrum, a large new playground will soon be built at the newly named Edmonds Park (formerly Richmond Park) next door, but the centre will also offer a rainy-day option indoors.

A small indoor playground will be located on the main floor next to a "playcare," where children can be supervised while parents are at activities elsewhere in the building, and a preschool.

The facility will serve the community while also being built to a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver standard of sustainability.

White roofs will reflect heat away from the building, keeping it cooler in the summer. It features high-efficient water fixtures and lighting, and a heating system that recycles the hot air from the building's exhaust and uses it to heat water in the pool and plumbing systems. An aero-thermal heat pump operates four times more efficiently than traditional high-efficiency boilers.

http://www.burnabynow.com/news/edmonds-from-no-pool-at-all-to-the-best-i...

 

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://www.stopdisplacement.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Dunblane-Demov... Community Under Attack (PDF)[/url]

Quote:
Between the beginning of 2014 and the end of 2015, two condo development corporations bought up every single apartment building on the block northeast of the corner of Dunblane and Imperial. In the offices of Polygon and Amacon and in the planning offices at Burnaby City Hall, teams of developers plotted the demolition of fifteen buildings and the displacement of nearly two hundred working class people and families living on this block. Corporate investors negotiated with individual owners through smooth talking real estate agents to assemble buildings into plots of land a quarter-block in size, large enough to host a tower of forty stories or more. Architects drew plans, City planners tweaked them, and when those plans went to council they were all but guaranteed. By the end of the decade, every old low-rise apartment building on Dunblane will be destroyed and replaced by spires of concrete and glass.

Basement Dweller

Check this piece of tripe put out by the CBC:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vacancy-rate-rentals-buil...

Money exchanged hands for this. No shame at all.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Burnaby has a development plan going back to the mid-1960's that restricts high density development to one of four "town centres" Metrotown is one of these. Though the plans have been updated over the years, high density development has remained restricted to one of the four town centres. The one exception is the planned community that was built a few years ago next to SFU on Burnaby Mountain. Burnaby has also allowed medium density development (3-5 stories) on select arterial streets outside of the four town centres.

The southern portion of Metrotown (south of the Skytrain) is a low-income community of two and three story walkup apartments that were built from the late 1950s through early 1980s. This is the community that is under attack by gentrification. Several high rises are already constructed or under construction along the south side of Beresford, the street which runs next to the Skytrain on the south side.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan has said in interviews that Burnaby has a responsibility to densify in order to help provide for the increase in Metro Vancouver's population. He claims that this trumps concern for those who are displaced from rental apartments that are torn down as part of this process.

The Burnaby Citzens Association Council (The BCA is an NDP farm team; while it is not affiliated with the NDP, it's members are required to be members of the NDP) has chosen not to densify neighbourhoods of single family houses and duplexes, and the four town centres development policy is a large part of this.

The problem is that instead of the gentle densification that Jane Jacobs championed in the 1960s and 1970s, Burnaby is allowing rampant gentrification in its town centres, while allowing other neighbourhoods to remain low-density.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Everything you say is basically true. However I lived in Burnaby for 20 years and I still think it is by far the best city in Metro Vancouver. I often tried to push the counsel on issues especially the lack of a homeless strategy. With the BCA you get both good and bad. The BCA is a centre left municipal party that has never tried to be a completely left wing party but it delivers first rate city services with union employees and has attained a high quality of life with great community centres and parks everywhere. I have also seen the people who have run against them over the years and if any of them had been elected instead the city would be a lot worse off, especially for poor people. Its oppostion has always had the right wing mantra of paying less for services by privatizing them. 

I hope they rethink this particular issue and try to develop a better strategy. Having said that it is tied into the newest plan to create a "downtown" area at Metrotown so we shall see how that goes. The fact is that the area has been constantly changing for 40 years and will not now remain static without any redevelopment so the real question is how does one build affordable new rental housing in BC. That is something that so far no municiality in the province has figured out.

Quote:

“[This plan] for Metrotown provides the opportunity to create a true downtown for Burnaby; one that enables the highest order of land use and development,” writes Lou Pelletier, director of planning and building for the city of Burnaby in his introduction to the report. It was introduced to council’s planning committee on Tuesday, and now city staff are seeking preliminary approval from council to allow for public consultation over the summer. A final draft development plan would go before council again in the fall.

If approved, the plan would remake the streetscape of Kingsway, clearing the way for the redevelopment of blocks of single-use office complexes, malls and residential towers for mixed-use development, more akin to downtown New Westminster or Vancouver. In the blocks behind Kingsway, it would allow for a swath of low-rise apartment blocks to be replaced by four-to-12-storey towers (that process has already begun) and make the area more pedestrian friendly with new plazas and the like. The goal, the plan states, is “to establish an exciting, inclusive, and sustainable downtown for Burnaby; one comprised of well-connected neighbourhoods that provide a sense of place and community identity."

It’s been almost 40 years since Burnaby adopted its long-term development plan for the Metrotown area in 1977. Over the following two decades, a series of malls—most prominently Metropolis at Metrotown—were developed, as Kingsway was lined with towers set back from the streets, with overpasses for pedestrians at certain points (rare in other city centers centres in the region). And in those intervening years a lot happened; first the construction of the SkyTrain in 1985, and then a series of long-term visions adopted by the city—its 1995 Transportation Plan, its 1998 Official Community Plan and the 2011 Regional Growth Strategy—which didn’t always correspond with changes to Metrotown’s plan. That final plan called for Burnaby to increase its population by 125,000 over the next 25 years, and Metrotown will be expected to accommodate “a significant component of the city’s residential and commercial growth.”

http://www.bcbusiness.ca/real-estate/burnaby-seeks-to-make-a-downtown-ou...

 

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:
Everything you say is basically true. However I lived in Burnaby for 20 years and I still think it is by far the best city in Metro Vancouver.

i'd rank New Westminster up there as the other 'best' city in Metro Vancouver. Burnaby is better on some things than New West, and New West is better on some things that Burnaby. Though because New West is so much smaler in size and population than Burnaby, it's a bit like comparing apples and oranges.

Quote:
With the BCA you get both good and bad. The BCA is a centre left municipal party that has never tried to be a completely left wing party but it delivers first rate city services with union employees and has attained a high quality of life with great community centres and parks everywhere. I have also seen the people who have run against them over the years and if any of them had been elected instead the city would be a lot worse off, especially for poor people. Its oppostion has always had the right wing mantra of paying less for services by privatizing them.

Agree with everything you've said here. Though this doesn't in my opinion let the BCA off the hook for wanting to let 2-3 story affordable walkup rental apartment buildings get torn down and replace by luxury condos. Though I don't place all of the blame on the City of Burnaby, since the real solution in Metrotown would be to replace the 2-3 story walkups with 5-7 story co-ops, but this would require provincial and/or federal money.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Colleen Jordan on FB wrote:

Spent more than an hour yesterday with Wendy Sturek of the G&M trying to explain the space between rock and the hard place where cities are forced in trying to accommodate providing homes for the 40,000 annual new immigrants to our region, while protecting the current residents. The part that she didn't include was that cities outside Vancouver live under different laws than Vancouver, and have even less options. And by the way...8 years ago we asked the Province to be able to zone areas for rental only....guess what there answer was? A big fat NO!

Here is the article in the G & M she is talking about. Many people when following Metro Vancouver politics do not understand they have a rather unique city Charter while the other municipalities are governed by the a different statute.

The other reality is one that is in the G & M article and that is that cities have never been the builders of social housing.

Quote:

Many of those buildings were constructed with the help of federal subsidies in the 1960s, Ms. Jordan said, adding she would like to see the federal government do more work with city and provincial governments to preserve, plan and build rental accommodation, including social housing.

“We need massive building of social housing,” Ms. Jordan said. “And social housing that is for poor people ... regular poor folk who maybe live on an old age pension and have $900 a month for rent – not $1,500 or $2,400.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/burnaby-bc-resident...

 

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Now, when it comes to the lack of a homeless shelter in Burnaby, I do hold the BCA responsible for this sorry state of affairs. And while I agree with Derek Corrigan that homeless shelters are not a solution, I also believe they are a 'necessary' stop-gap measure that municipalities need to take advantage of in the absence of any more permanent solutions being on offer from the province and the feds.

[url=http://www.burnabynow.com/opinion/your-letters/letters-how-can-burnaby-b... How can Burnaby be so 'heartless'?[/url]

Quote:
If homeless shelters are provincial or federal responsibilities, then tell me why New Westminster, Vancouver, North Vancouver, Surrey, Coquitlam and Richmond have shelters and Burnaby is without?

 

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:
Many people when following Metro Vancouver politics do not understand they have a rather unique city Charter while the other municipalities are governed by the a different statute.

I was aware of this, but not of the differences between the Vancouver Charter and the law that governs other municipalities in BC. I'm still not.

I agree with Colleen Jordan about the tough position that municipalities are in with the province and feds not providing social housing, and the province not allowing municipalities to zone for rentals.

That won't stop me from posting articles critical of the BCA on this issue, even if that criticism is at least partially misdirected. This is a thread about gentrification in Burnaby, after all.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Indeed and when I lived in Burnaby it didn't stop me from lobbying the counsel on the issues. In the past I knew all of them personally and they got a little tired of my pushing housing and homeless issues.  The question I always ask myself is if the BCA is defeated will the people who replace them care more about those issues and frankly I don't see any group in Burnaby that is going to beat the BCA by campaigning from the left.

quizzical

so Van isn't part of the Community Charter governing other cities and towns?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

No it is under the its own regime.

Quote:

The Vancouver Charter

Provincial statute, passed in 1953, incorporates the City of Vancouver, BC, Canada. This legislation supersedes the Vancouver Incorporation Act and grants the City different powers than other communities have under BC's Municipalities Act.

http://vancouver.ca/your-government/the-vancouver-charter.aspx

 

Basement Dweller

NDP Housing critic David Eby calls demovictions "an absolutely heartbreaking situation"

http://www.cknw.com/2016/06/06/housing-critic-says-demovictions-show-bur...

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Here is a good article on what is happening in Vancouver to a rental neighbourhood. 

Quote:

The Grandview-Woodland area runs south of the Burrard Inlet to Broadway and is bounded by Clark Drive and Nanaimo Street. It includes several busy transit areas with Hastings Street, First Avenue, Commercial and Victoria Drive intersecting it.

It’s a story Vancouverites are all too familiar with: city plans for rezoning and increased development puts pressure on landlords to raise rent prices and leaves renters with hefty rent costs and possible evictions.

The 2011 Statistics Canada Census indicated 65 per cent of Grandview-Woodland residents are renters, some of whom fear the new neighbourhood plan could trigger mass evictions, homelessness and increased business with foreign buyers.

Many of the 50 people who attended the meeting raised concerns that even if the neighbourhood gains more housing through rezoning, it will lose renters because of high rent costs.

http://www.vancourier.com/news/grandview-woodland-residents-fear-renovic...

Basement Dweller

I'm not impressed with the NIMBY behaviour of some homeowners near Commercial Drive. This isn't another glass condo owner. It is mid-rise rental housing that is badly needed right now.

http://www.straight.com/news/726261/housing-unaffordability-and-neighbou...

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Basement Dweller wrote:

I'm not impressed with the NIMBY behaviour of some homeowners near Commercial Drive. This isn't another glass condo owner. It is mid-rise rental housing that is badly needed right now.

http://www.straight.com/news/726261/housing-unaffordability-and-neighbou...

You do realize that this article is not about Burnaby don't you? 

Basement Dweller

I noticed you posted about East Van in this thread, so I figured why start a new thread.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Basement Dweller wrote:

I'm not impressed with the NIMBY behaviour of some homeowners near Commercial Drive. This isn't another glass condo owner. It is mid-rise rental housing that is badly needed right now.

">http://www.straight.com/news/726261/housing-unaffordability-and-neighbou...

While I agree that more rental accomodation is needed in Vancouver, I'm not a fan of the proposed development at Commercial and Venables.

For starters, I don't believe that the rental units in this development qualify as "affordable", and therefore will not stop the displacement of lower income people in Vancouver.

More importantly, this building is intended to be precedent setting for Commercial Drive, as the plan is to eventually replace most of the existing buildings on the drive with mid-rise residential buildings with ground floor commercial space. This process will likely displace most of the existing residents in those buildings along the drive that include residential, as new residential units will likely have a higher rent than current units. And the commercial rents will likely skyrocket as well, displacing many if not most of Commercial Drive's beloved businesses.

Top this off with the fact that if current building design trends hold, the redevelopment of Commercial Drive will replace the current eclectic mix of building going back many decades, with a relatively uniform set of glass and steel buildings.

All of which will transform Commercial Drive from one of the most vibrant public spaces in Canada, to another relatively generic and soulless gentrified Vancouver street.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Basement Dweller wrote:

I'm not impressed with the NIMBY behaviour of some homeowners near Commercial Drive. This isn't another glass condo owner. It is mid-rise rental housing that is badly needed right now.

http://www.straight.com/news/726261/housing-unaffordability-and-neighbou...

You do realize that this article is not about Burnaby don't you? 

I've pm'd the mods to request a change in the title of this thread to Gentrification in Metro Vancouver, as this would better reflect the contents of the thread.

Basement Dweller

I just want to point out that the proposed development at Commercial and Venables wasn't the one I was refering to. Commercial and Venables would be 12 stories whereas the project at Commercial and 18th St, in the artlcle I referenced, is no more than 6 stories. The site where the Commercial and 18th St. development would take place is currently four houses (with no real heritage value imo) on overgrown, badly maintained, lots a few blocks south of Commercial and Broadway.

I understand the concern over the 12 story proposal at Commercial and Venables and how that will impact The Drive. Although, at the same time, there are several non-profit housing organizations who really want this to go ahead. I'm more torn on this one.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Left Turn wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Basement Dweller wrote:

I'm not impressed with the NIMBY behaviour of some homeowners near Commercial Drive. This isn't another glass condo owner. It is mid-rise rental housing that is badly needed right now.

http://www.straight.com/news/726261/housing-unaffordability-and-neighbou...

You do realize that this article is not about Burnaby don't you? 

I've pm'd the mods to request a change in the title of this thread to Gentrification in Metro Vancouver, as this would better reflect the contents of the thread.

Great idea now all the articles can focus on Vancouver since that is the only part of the Lower Mainland that exists in the MSM.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:
Great idea now all the articles can focus on Vancouver since that is the only part of the Lower Mainland that exists in the MSM.

By the time I requested the thread title change, the current discussion was about gentrification in the Commercial Drive area. The current thread title better reflects the scope of the discussion in the thread, and in no way precludes further article postings and discussion on the situation in Burnaby.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2016/07/10/demoviction-protesters-occupy-burna... protesters occupy Burnaby apartment[/url]

Quote:

Approximately 80 tenants of the Amacon-owned, 23-unit building at 5025 Imperial St. were evicted at the end of June, but protesters occupied the building as a pre-emptive move on Saturday, having seen multiple buildings in the two square blocks to the northwest recently emptied and demolished by developers.

Burnaby RCMP officers arrived at the building late Saturday, but protesters barricaded themselves into a third-floor unit and refused to leave.

“This is an issue for all of Metro Vancouver,” Maria Wallstam told 24 hours Sunday while standing on the balcony of the apartment where occupiers had holed up the night before. “Just on this block, there are hundreds of units being lost of affordable housing ... this is how homelessness is created.

“There is no homeless shelter in Burnaby, so homeless people are going to end up in other municipalities.”

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://www.inews880.com/syn/112/201901/burnaby-apartment-occupiers-holdi... apartment occupiers holding firm, willing to risk arrest[/url]

Quote:

As an occupation of an empty apartment building in Burnaby’s Metrotown neighbourhood is approaching day four, and demonstrators say they have no plan to leave.

Protestor Maria Wallstam says she’s willing to get arrested to get the message across to all levels of government.

“This is happening across Metrotown. And this is about 3,000 affordable rental housing that are at risk of demolition.”

Wallstam says the building, at Imperial and Nelson, has become a shelter for those already displaced.

“While we’ve been doing this occupation, we met a lot of homeless people and a lot of people who have been displaced from this building and are now sleeping on couches or sleeping on the street.”

About a dozen people have been occupying the building since Saturday, and she says three homeless people have now joined them.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/development-sites-occupie...

Development sites occupied to protest high Metro Vancouver housing costs[/url]

Quote:
Advocates for affordable housing have occupied an empty three-story apartment building in Burnaby and a lot in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and are refusing to leave.

It's all in protest of the demolition of low cost apartment buildings, which have forced some into more desperate situations when it comes to finding appropriate shelter in a region infamous for its housing problems.

While the Burnaby protest takes aim in part at local city officials, Burnaby's mayor says there's little he can do because the B.C. government has refused to give municipalities the power to protect low-cost housing.

As a result, Derek Corrigan says the local housing shortage has reached "titanic proportions".

Basement Dweller

For those who use Twitter:

@stopdisplacemnt

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

I was walking by the apartment block today where the occupation is taking place, and I was talking to Ivan Drury, who is one of the organizers with the Stop Displacement group. Ivan is of the opinion that the Burnaby Citizens Association is actually a right-wing political party. Not in the sense that the mainstream media uses the terms left and right when it comes to politics, but in the sense of what left-wing and right-wing politics have historically meant. In other words, that if the BCA were actually a left-wing political party, it would not allow low income people to be demovicted when they have no other housing options available to them.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://www.burnabynow.com/opinion/your-letters/letters-burnaby-council-n... Burnaby council needs to step up on demoviction issue[/url]

Quote:

Dear Editor

I was present last Thursday night at the Metrotown planning meeting.

 A councillor should have been present to face the frustration and fear these demovicted Burnaby residents have and continue to endure.

The city workers were merely the canaries in the coal mine. 

Looking at these potentially homeless individuals, I thought why can’t we take the bonus densities from each individual demoviction, and build a portion of these new buildings into subsided housing for those displaced residents. 

After all, Burnaby has bragged for more than a decade about the budget surpluses that they have acquired. In reality these surpluses have also been acquired on the backs of each Burnaby resident.  

The irony of the situation is, all these displaced residents who helped contribute to Burnaby’s budget surplus for many years,  will no longer be able to enjoy any future amenities in Burnaby created through these surpluses.   

Burnaby city council needs to live in the moment.

Donna Polos, Burnaby

Basement Dweller

Burnaby City Council are a bunch of fucking cowards. I know a couple of them, and I'm not impressed. :(

quizzical

wait til they cave on the pipeline

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://www.burnabynow.com/news/court-orders-activists-to-leave-burnaby-b... orders activists to leave Burnaby building[/url]

Quote:

The clock is ticking on a group of housing advocates who have occupied a vacant building slated for demolition in the Metrotown area.

On Thursday, the B.C. Supreme Court granted Amacon Developments, the owner of the property, an injunction that would allow police to remove the protesters from the building immediately.   

Members of Alliance Against Displacement began occupying the building at 5025 Imperial St. on Saturday and have vowed to stay until they are forcibly removed. The occupation is part of an ongoing battle between housing advocates and city hall over the issue of “demovictions.”

As of Thursday afternoon at press time, a handful of members of the group were still occupying the building and preparing for arrest.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

quizzical wrote:

wait til they cave on the pipeline

I doubt they will cave on the pipeline, at least not while it still remains to be built. The BCA tends to maintain consistent positions on most issues, in contrast ot politicians from other political parties. Their consistency on issues is probably a big driver of their continued popularity.

Now, if the pipeline actually gets built (a new pipeline with triple the capacity, to replace the existing pipeline), it wouldn't suprise me if the BCA would aquiesce to it then.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

One of my friends just posted the following on Facebook:

Jane Bouey wrote:
At the occupation at 5025 Imperial St - police in building to enforce injunction. Supporters, media and neighbours here. Including folk who have been demovicted twice from appartment in the community. Blocks and blocks of decent
affordable housing are going down for high priced condos.

Basement Dweller

Speaking of pipelines, the City of Burnaby shut off water to the building :(

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Call-out for help in Burnaby!

The Stop Demovictions Burnaby campaign is asking for supporters to sign up for 3 hour outreach shifts. We are scheduling from today until this Friday for now.

The occupation of 5025 Imperial Street, Burnaby has lasted for 9 days (so far). Occupiers and members of the Burnaby homeless community have been living inside of a vacant building slated for demolition. Tenants of this building were recently evicted so developers could demolish the building and build condominiums which will be unaffordable to these tenants in this building, displacing them from their homes and community.

Volunteering for a 3 hour shift will mean speaking with neighbours about the demovictions in Burnaby, the occupation, and the demands of the campaign.

Organizers will provide training and current information to give to those who volunteer. And there will be organizers on property to offer help if needed.

There is no expectation of volunteers to enter the building and risk arrest.

Food and water is regularly being dropped off by neighbours so volunteers will be fed!

Shifts are:

9am-Noon
Noon-3pm
3pm-6pm
6pm-9pm

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Homeless & Demovicted People Unite! Joint call-out from the simultaneous Vancouver & Burnaby housing justice occupations

The July 9th housing justice day of action called by Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users has spilled over from one day to two ongoing actions for housing justice. A Tent City is being set up in the Downtown Eastside, in an empty lot at 58 West Hastings, where the Olympic Tent Village was during the 2010 Olympics. And in the Metrotown area of Burnaby, residents demovicted from three buildings on the 5000 block of Imperial Street are supporting an occupation of one emptied apartment building. These coordinated occupations show that the housing and homelessness crisis is not just a matter of the so-called “street homeless;” the crisis includes more than 100,000 people throughout BC who are evicted, couch surfing, displaced, underhoused, pushed out of tent cities, criminalized, and homeless. We are calling out for homeless and evicted people to join these occupations, take them back from development corporations, and transform them from protests to spaces of survival, safety, and community....

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://www.burnabynow.com/news/burnaby-demoviction-protest-continues-int... demoviction protest continues into second week[/url]

Quote:

The occupation of a vacant apartment on Imperial Street by protesters has moved into its second week with no end in sight.

By Tuesday, members of Alliance Against Displacement were still occupying 5025 Imperial St. and continuing to demand the city put a moratorium on all demolitions of older rental buildings in the Metrotown area.

The group had also stepped up its efforts to stop Amacon Developments, which owns the property, from starting demolition work on three other buildings that are part of the new development under protest.

On Monday, members of the group kicked reps from Amacon out of a neighbouring building, while locking the door with a spike.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://www.cknw.com/2016/07/20/demovictions-protesters-in-burnaby-arrest... protesters in Burnaby arrested[/url]

Quote:

It appears the 11-day long occupation of a Burnaby apartment building slated for demolition is over.

Three anti-Imperial squatters were taken into police custody early Wednesday morning, but released without charges.

Natalie Knight with the group Alliance Against Displacement says police moved in around 5:00 AM.

She says they did not resist arrest and were ordered to stay away from the area.

“We were given the option to sign an agreement, which is based on the injunction that we will not return to the four sites that Amacon is developing.”

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

The Alliance Against Displacement (the folks who organized the occupation of the apartment in Burnaby) held a protest this afternoon against the demovictions and gentrification going on in the Metrotown area. I'd estimate about 150-200 people showed up to the protest. The key demand was that the City of Burnaby stop rezoning rental apartments to highrise condos, and to reverse rezonings on buildings that have not yet been demolished. Also that the province and feds invest in sufficient social housing to cover the loss of rental units.

The protest started at the corner of Imperial and Dumblane (the apartment building where the occupation took place was one over from the corner of Dumblane to the east on Imperial). Three people spoke at this location (an indigenous welcome plus two others).

After this we marched west along Imperial for two blocks to the corner of Imperial and Central Blvd., where one of the development companies that is demovicting residents in the area has an information office set up. Ivan from the Alliance Against Displacement spoke here.

From there we turned right onto Central Blvd. Central Blvd. immediately goes around a corner to the left, after which we were headed along central Blvd in a northwest direction. About a block and a half along central Blvd., we ran into an area where traffic was blacked up due to construction, so we croseed under the Skytrain to Beresford st. We headed three blocks northwest along Beresford to Silver Ave. Two people spoke at the corner of Beresford and Silver, one of whom was a woman who was demovicted from the apartment building on the southeast corner of the intersection.

From there we headed northwest along Beresford for one more block before we turned southwest onto McKay ave., and headed halfway down the block to Maywood Park. There the protest finished up with three more speakers, one of which was a man who returned to the building he was demovicted from to take part in the occupation.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Thanks for that report on the demo.

Here is a link to a Burnaby organization. The vieo is three years old but just as relevant now.

http://burnabyhomeless.org/video/

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://www.cknw.com/2016/07/26/burnaby-to-explore-solutions-for-resident... to explore solutions for residents displaced by demovictions[/url]

Quote:
Facing scrutiny to improve rental stock being replaced by high rises, Volkow says implementing a moratorium policy on demolitions would be one of the first steps.

But there are legal hurdles.

“As far as moratoriums, we have been told, time and again, that legally we do not have the legal tools to deny people to demolish their property.”

Volkow points at city bylaws.

“The ability of people to do what they can within the legal requirements for zoning bylaws trumps everything.”

Volkow says city staff are also looking at ways to implement incentives for developers to include rental stock in new buildings.

He says he can’t give any specifics right now because ideas are premature.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/grandview-woodland-commun... community plan approved after heated debate[/url]

Quote:

Carr said she's also worried about the effect the plan will have on the numerous low-rise apartment buildings in the neighbourhood.

Many areas that top out at three storeys have been rezoned to allow six, which Carr says will adversely affect one of Vancouver's best stocks of affordable rental housing.

"You could see the replacement of those buildings instead of the retention of them and the upgrading of them, and we will lose affordable housing, and we can't afford to in this city," Carr said.

Carr also said the plan needed further public consultation before approval, citing requests from MP Jenny Kwan, MLA Shane Simpson and the Grandview-Woodland Area Council.

But Jang said the plan has already been through an "unprecedented" amount of consultation with the community, and that most people who spoke to council before the debate spoke in favour of the plan.

The Grandview-Woodland Area Council echoed Carr's concerns, and said it was "extremely disappointed" about the approval of the Kettle Boffo project at 12 storeys.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://www.metronews.ca/news/vancouver/2016/08/02/mayor-commits-tent-cit... commits to social housing at tent city site in Downtown Eastside meeting[/url]

Quote:

The messy handwriting on flipchart paper brandished by the housing advocates listed a set of agreements reached with the mayor and city staff during an unprecedented 1.5-hour meeting. It was a scene much in contrast to the Mayor's usual slickly choreographed events.

He met with residents from several groups, including the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users and organizers behind a weeks-old protest encampment calling for an increase in social housing amidst higher-than-ever homelessness.

...

According to the agreement signed by Robertson the tent city site will become “100 per cent social housing,” with priority to people on welfare and pensions, and vowed to continue advocating for the province to raise welfare shelter allowances lifted above $375 a month for a single person.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://vancouversun.com/opinion/opinion-affordability-jeopardized-in-new... Affordability jeopardized in new Grandview plan[/url]

Quote:
Vancouver just approved a new Grandview-Woodland Community Plan, in the neighbourhood known as the Commercial Drive area. The plan jeopardizes affordability by putting existing affordable rentals, heritage and character at risk in spite of community opposition.

There are references in the plan to retaining existing rentals and protecting heritage, but the adopted policies do just the opposite. Incentives for redevelopment increase land speculation, leading to land, unit and rent inflation with loss of community character.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://www.burnabynow.com/opinion/your-letters/letters-city-of-burnaby-h... City of Burnaby has failed to protect rental housing for residents[/url]

Quote:

Mayor Corrigan and the city council have been refusing to address ACORN’s concern’s since we have asked them to protect existing affordable rental housing stock in Burnaby over two years ago. Instead they have engaged on a public relations campaign that is misleading at best and untrue at worst.

When we have asked them not to rezone existing rental housing into highrise private condominiums, they said they don’t have any choice but to rezone as developers ask. This is nonsense, the city does not have to rezone to the needs to the speculators and developers who buy these properties to build highrise private condos. Cities have jurisdiction over local property zoning. The mayor and council have also claimed that if they don’t rezone the properties, the speculators and developers will tear them down and build new rental units to the three-storey limit. When we asked the city planners how many times this has happened in the last five years, they could only name one instance.

...

The city will be the focus of both ACORN’s and the Alliance’s campaign until the city decides to take responsibility for its most vulnerable citizens.

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