Burnaby ACORN Victory: Cautiously optimistic but our anti-demovictions campaign continues

Posted July 23, 2018

ACORN members welcomed the news last week that Burnaby City Council has voted to reconsider the proposed demoviction of 177 rental units.
 
On Thursday, July 19, Council held a highly irregular “special council meeting”, to send back two rezoning applications to the developer to see if they could build more market and subsidized rental units rather than luxury condos. The units will be taken off the agenda of the public hearing scheduled for Tuesday July 24th at 7pm, the second time in a month that Council has voted to postpone such a hearing.
 
Mayor Corrigan announced that the City will be working with the provincial government to develop a strategy to increase non-market housing in new developments. After months of organizing against the demovictions that displace Burnaby tenants, ACORN members and allies are pleased to see Council take leadership on this issue. Our organizing efforts against the most recent hearing resulted in more than 500 paper and electronic submissions to Council.
 
However, with an unprecedented number of demoviction proposals this year and no solid plan from the City to tackle displacement, our campaign to stop demovictions will continue. ACORN emphasizes that the applications that have been postponed are still in the demovictions process and will be brought to hearing at later date. We are concerned that there will be no suitable relocation policy for the tenants. July 24th marks the one-year anniversary of the disastrous Metrotown Downtown Plan. Since passing the controversial plan with virtually no real or substantial public input last July, the City has seen a 700% increase in demoviction applications, reaching an unprecedented 893 applications in the last 12 months.
 
Mayor Corrigan and Council still refuse to acknowledge that Burnaby has a massive displacement issue, with over 1,500 low-to-moderate income people being evicted to date into a near 0% vacancy rental market. The rezoning allowed by the Metrotown Downtown Plan still endangers several thousand more renters in the Metrotown area. According to the City, there were a total of 2992 purpose-built rentals in Metrotown before the plan was passed.
 
Even in its early stages, this plan is already the biggest mass eviction of renters in Canada.This is why ACORN and our allies are demanding an immediate moratorium on demovictions. We cannot continue throwing low and moderate income people to the streets, where they face massive increases in rent or even homelessness. We are cautiously optimistic to see Council finally showing an interest in leveraging affordable housing within new developments. However, with a municipal election on the table we are wary of false promises from Mayor Corrigan and want a firm commitment to both increase the supply of affordable housing and ensure that existing tenants are not displaced.” Murray Martin, BC ACORN leader.
 
ACORN members call for an immediate moratorium on demovictions, the creation of deeply affordable housing in Burnaby and rental replacement policy which includes no displacement without replacement: similar accommodation (in terms of quality, size and price) and if relocation is necessary, with similar Skytrain access.
 
The next step in our Stop Demovictions campaign includes a press conference and rally to end demovictions. Come out to show your support and spread the word!
 
Stop Demovictions Press Conference
Where: 6635 Sussex Ave, Metrotown, Burnaby
When: Tuesday, July 24 at 11AM
 
Anti-Demovictions Rally
Where: Burnaby City Hall, 4949 Canada Way.
When: Tuesday, July 24th at 6:30pm