COPE calls for change to by-law as residents of 4550 Fraser St. protest re-development
COPE Cllr David Cadman and council candidate Ellen Woodsworth want changes to the City’s Rate of Change by-law so that people living in an apartment above a commercial-zoned areas are protected from re-development.
"All housing developments in Vancouver should be viewed through the lens of our affordable housing and homelessness crises," said Woodsworth. "The residents of the apartments above 4550 Fraser are jeopardized by the city’s Rate of Change by-law that does not care for people and does not address our homelessness crisis. I will not let these people lose their homes."
Vancouver’s Rate-of-Change bylaw, requires one-to-one replacement of any rental housing being converted or demolished, but does not require landlords to rent to their former tenants, and cannot prevent the new rent from being beyond the means of the former tenants. Furthermore, the by-law excludes rental apartments in commercially-zoned areas such as the 4500 block of Fraser Street, where 78 units are slated for demolition.
The owners of the site want to redevelop the property and, according to residents, have allowed the apartments to deteriorate while they negotiate a deal to sell and redevelop the site. Any redevelopment will likely result in demolition of the current affordable housing, and replacement by higher priced condos.
Cadman and Woodsworth want the city to freeze any demolition permits so that the approximately 200 residents of 4550 Fraser Street have an opportunity to develop a plan that will allow them to remain in their homes. Many of the residents who live on fixed incomes, and speak English as a second language, fear that they will not be able to find new homes in the city if they are forced out by development.
"We need to protect our city’s existing housing stock and prevent the homelessness crisis from getting worse," said Cadman. "The Rate-of-Change bylaw needs to be changed to protect our city’s most vulnerable."