Reported by Cheryl Whiting
Residents of Marpole are concerned that rising rents are causing people to move out of the neighbourhood to more affordable communities.
Marpole was once a residential hub for affordable housing. Now it is quickly catching up to other areas of the city after numerous development projects have sprung up in the last few years.
Susan Haid, assistant director of South Vancouver planning, said the city recognizes that Marpole is a vulnerable area in terms of population and rent affordability. The Marpole plan was developed to move forward slowly, so that a large number of people weren’t displaced at once.
“We have a pace of change policy which we’re still figuring out how to implement and monitor,” Haid said. “It essentially means we can’t have all of those apartment areas be redeveloped at the same time.”
With rent going up, residents are going out
Kimberley Osborn grew up in the area but recently moved to Richmond after she says it became too expensive to live in Marpole. She kept her kids enrolled in their neighbourhood school so they wouldn’t be disrupted, but now faces a long commute each day.
“I think that we have way too much development in one area and this is a conversation I think I was having for four years,” said Osborn, “it’s too expensive in this area now.”
Ashad Ali is a parent who lived in Marpole but had to move out of his suite after his rent for a two bedroom went to $1,800 from $1,100.
“They did offer us an initial discount of a few hundred bucks,” said Ali, “But then it went up [again].”
Haid says that the Residential Tenancy Act prohibits landlords from raising the rent too much.
“If there’s movement of tenants then there is more ability for the landlords to increase rent,” she said. “But for tenants already in there, there are provincial guidelines.”
The Marpole plan is currently in effect and is expected to reach completion in the next five to 10 years.