BURNABY (NEWS 1130) – An organization that advocates for middle and low income families has issued its first annual ‘Demovictor of the Year’ award.
BC ACORN has named Vancouver-based developer, Anthem Properties, as the first recipient.
Council gave initial approval in April to two high-rise buildings proposed by Anthem Properties Group. The towers would replace 177 rental units in three walk-up buildings at 6444 Willingdon Ave and 4241 Wilson Ave. in Metrotown.
In the meantime, according to ACORN’s Murray Martin, tenants in the apartment building on Wilson Street were told they had until February 2019 to leave the building, in order to collect compensation offered by the developer. ACORN alleges Anthem uses ‘tenant displacement specialists’ to encourage people to leave.
In July, city council voted to send Anthem’s rezoning applications back to the drawing board.
“So we found about a month ago, we went into the building, which has 86 units, that 50 units were empty already,” says Martin, who notes since the eviction notices were made public, the notices were rescinded.
“It’s got 50 units that are sitting vacant that are perfectly livable. I can only speculate on why they’re doing this. The most likely reason is that it weakens tenant resistance to the process.”
He says runners up for the award were now-former mayor Derek Corrigan and Burnaby city councillor Colleen Jordan, who he characterizes as a strong defender of so-called ‘demovictions.’
Back in June, Jordan made a motion, which council adopted, to rescind two high-rise proposals from a public hearing, saying she wanted developers to explore non-market rentals in their projects.
But Martin believes the decision was made in order to ward off another night of protests from housing activists.
According to Acorn, more 700 rental households have been evicted in Metrotown since 2011. The organization estimates about another 900 rental units could be lost with additional redevelopments.