BREAKING: Sit-in has begun at Burnaby Mayor's office in defense of renter rights
BURNABY, UNCEDED COAST SALISH TERRITORIES: A news conference organized this morning to bring a demand for fair tenant compensation has escalated into a sit-in at the Burnaby Mayor's office. Protestors are refusing to leave until the City agrees to enforce its tenant support policy for all tenants evicted by rezoning and condo development.
They say more is at stake than a couple months' rent for some of the tenants renting from Belford Properties. "If the City of Burnaby allows Belford to slip out of its minor obligations to tenants they are throwing out of their homes then Burnaby will make two-tier renter status a new norm," said protest organizer Zoe Luba. "Developers with buildings under rezoning will be free to make money off of vulnerable tenants who can't find better accommodations without having to redistribute any of their massive profits to those suffering."
Statement the delegation delivered to the Mayor's office is below
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Statement from the Demovictions delegation at the Burnaby Mayor's Office sit-in
March 9, 2017
Open letter to Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan
From the Stop Demovictions Burnaby Campaign
Demanding equal rights for all tenants facing demoviction
We are here representing the tenants of 6380 and 6420 Silver Avenue, who are being demovicted after your council awarded a rezoning permit to the transnational condo development corporation Belford Properies. We are here to protest Burnaby Council’s arrangement to deny assistance to the most vulnerable of tenants for 3 reasons:
In support of these three points, we are here to demand that Burnaby mayor and council retract the exemption to its tenant assistance policy for any group of tenants and publicly request that Belford Properties pay a minimum of the equivalent of three months’ rent to every tenant evicted from their Silver Avenue buildings.
- Denying assistance to some tenants is a support to developers, not tenants. To justify denying some tenants support, Burnaby’s director of planning referred to those tenants as temporary “replacement” tenants. But there are no temporary tenants, just temporary apartments. As tenants, we move from place to place according to market forces and the whims of landlords and regulators like the City. We are always tenants; we are always paying rent to landlords. Temporary tenancy benefits landlords who want to make more profit, it just makes our existence harder. The job of the City should be to make it easier for those most vulnerable, not deny even humble assistance to those on the edge of homelessness.
- The rezoning of our homes must not be considered a sure thing until Council has voted. The City’s cut-off point for tenant assistance in the Silver Ave buildings is June 2015, when Belford’s rezoning process began. Mayor Corrigan said, “I think [tenants] really did know” the demolition was coming if they moved in after that date. Corrigan is saying that tenants should have known that once the rezoning process began it was inevitable that the building would be rezoned. This assumption is a violation of legal rezoning process, which requires that Council not decide on a rezoning application until the vote, which did not occur for well over a year after June 2015.
- We believe that the City should use their tenant assistance policy for two purposes: 1) to provide financial assistance to those being harmed by City development policies and; 2) to provide disincentive to developers to profit by evicting people from their homes. By creating this loophole in their tenant assistance policy they are failing to achieve both these purposes. Mayor Corrigan is denying financial assistance to those most vulnerable to the effects of demovictions, and Mayor Corrigan is giving developers loophole to get out of paying compensation to any tenants – old or new.
Stop Demovictions Burnaby Campaign
Stop Demovictions Burnaby Campaign