COPE Councillor David Cadman and council candidate Ellen Woodsworth are backing residents of Little Mountain Housing Complex (LMHC) who are delivering a "people’s stop work order" to halt demoltion of affordable housing in the 224-unit site.
On Monday, BC Housing, the provincial authority that controls the site, started to board up windows and doors despite the fact that people are still living in many of the buildings. Work halted when Cadman and Woodsworth arrived on the site after being called by residents.
"This is an appalling situation where perfectly good housing is being boarded up and rendered uninhabitable while 2000 people are sleeping on Vancouver streets every night," said Woodsworth. "The provincial government and BC Housing must halt all demolition and destruction of this perfectly usable housing until we can determine with the tenants, the city and the province the best use for those units. You don’t bulldoze affordable housing in the midst of a homelessness crisis."
COPE wants the city to negotiate with BC Housing to keep the 224 units open and available for immediate housing over the winter.
Many of the units in the LMHC have been boarded up, apparently to force remaining tenants to move out. More than 200 homes now sit empty at Little Mountain and residents and their families who still live in 19 apartments, are worried that the boarded up units will attract vandals, squatters and arsonists, posing a threat to children and seniors.
Residents are opposed to a proposed plan by the Provincial Government to sell this 15-acre chunk of public land to a developer. Residents want the site to be mixed-use community with up to 1500 units of affordable, middle income and some market housing. The residents also want to be included in long term planning for the area. If nothing is done, they say 224 homes will be destroyed years before reconstruction begins, and it will result in another lost opportunity to address Vancouver’s homelessness crisis.
"Peter Ladner and the NPA are blind to the solutions before us. While Little Mountain Housing is boarded up, they want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on portables in empty lots,” said Cadman. “The answer is right in front of us but the NPA prefer election gimmicks."