An anti-demoviction protest in Burnaby may be over with the arrests of several people this morning, but the plight of Lower Mainland low-income tenants living in buildings scheduled for high-end development continues.
It’s not just Burnaby. In one Coquitlam street; two apartment blocks just across the road from each other on Whiting Way are being demolished turning out around 120 residents between them, many of them single mothers or refugees who now have to find a new place where they can afford to live.
Coquitlam Councillor Chris Wilson says in an unusual move, the property developer has tried to help the tenants, to a point.
“They’ve tried to help by giving units a 12 month credit on their rent or whether they want to buy one of theses units, but again the units to purchase are extremely expensive and most of the the people in this complex don’t have that kind of income to buy one.”
Wilson says with rising costs across the region, people forced out of affordable rentals are now finding themselves with few options, even if they look farther afield.
“If you’ve been living here for four or five years, your rent is pretty low. If you try to find something now in Maple Ridge, you’re not going to be able to find something at the rent you had in Coquitlam because every time a unit becomes available, the landlord is able to raise the rents.”
He says while Coquitlam Council sees the solution as a provincial problem, a view he doesn’t fully share.