Reported by Stuart Neatby
Hundreds of residents may be thrown into Vancouver’s struggling rental market, depending on a proposed redevelopment plan.
Langara Gardens, a collection of rental and low-rise housing on 57 Avenue and Cambie Street which consists of 605 units of rental housing, may be demolished. A majority of these units are in high-rise towers, while 270 units are located in low-rise townhouses built around green space.
Owen Wilson, who lives in one of the low-rise townhouses with his two children, said his family would be displaced if a redevelopment plan goes ahead.
“We’ll be evicted and kicked out, with the first option of moving back in, but we still have to go rent somewhere else, move, and then rent back in here,” said Wilson.
Old low-rises make way for new high-rises
All of the townhouse units would be demolished under the redevelopment plan. Seven new towers would be built, ranging from 20 to 26 storeys in height, as would six other residential buildings.
According to an e-mailed statement from the City of Vancouver, the new units will be a mixture of strata development, market rental housing, and affordable housing, which is defined as 20 per cent below the market rental rate. A two-bedroom unit currently rents for $1950 per month.
What will happen to displaced residents
Residents displaced by the development will be given priority placement in new units, but Wilson, who works as a manager at West Restaurant, does not expect to return.
“The chances of us coming back are probably not good because the reason we’re here is because of the patio and green space,” he said.
City staff has conducted several consultation meetings with residents. Once a policy statement is completed, the two owners of the site, Peterson Group and Concert Properties, will be able to apply for a rezoning application before beginning the redevelopment.
Yasine Seqat, who is planning to register at Langara College, would also be displaced, along with his family.
“The majority of people are going to be upset because the fact of having to move houses in general is just a whole hassle,” he said.