Burnaby anti-demoviction protestors claim residents of a Metrotown apartment set for demolition are being short changed after getting eviction notices.
Tenants of the 105 units in the apartment at Silver and Beresford have until May to pack up and move.
Ivan Drury with Stop Demovictions Burnaby says they’ll be doing it with the legal minimum of one month’s free rent, rather than the three they say Burnaby’s Tenant Assistance Policy requires.
That policy covers cases of mass evictions.
“What happened in June 2015 is the rezoning hearing for this building started. They’re claiming that once that began, people moved into the building knowing it would be demolished, and therefore don’t qualify for assistance,” Drury says.
But he says most of the tenants weren’t aware of that provision.
“In many cases that they were just lied to by the building manager or the owner, and told it wasn’t being demolished, or it was only rumours that a demolition was coming. So these people moved in and are now being pushed out and don’t know where they’re going to go, and don’t have financial compensation they need to help them move.”
But Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan says the new compensation arrangement was made very clear at the time.
“I think they really did know it, and that’s probably the question in each individual case, whether or not the developer appropriately notified the people that the building was about to be demolished in the near future. And if in fact the developer didn’t do that there may very well be an argument in favour of the tenant. But it wouldn’t be fair if in fact you got low rent because you moved in knowing it was going to be demolished in the future if you also got three months.”
Corrigan says it’s not the city’s role to play judge and jury on whether the developer was above board with tenants, and if there was deception it’s a matter for the residential tenancy branch to resolve.
The issue of demolitions and evictions in Burnaby’s Metrotown area has been a flashpoint in recent months, with low-rise, low-income rentals being demolished to make way for high-density condo towers close to the SkyTrain.
The city is preparing to vote on a sweeping Metrotown Development Plan which would see the neighbourhood transformed into Burnaby’s “downtown,” while seeing thousands of apartment units rezoned and potentially facing the wrecking ball.