A number of residents facing eviction in one Burnaby neighbourhood took to the streets today, protesting the demolition of low-rise buildings they say are being replaced with new condo towers.

Kaye Bedford learned a few months ago that her building was slated for demolition. She’s now looking for a new home.

Story continues below


“It’s not good to have that feeling that you’re being tossed out just because you can’t afford to rent apartments around here,” said Bedford, adding that the unexpected evictions of her and her neighbours is what prompted her to join the rally.

“I have friends or I’ve known people that have already been gone because their building is not here anymore, so they have to move somewhere else,” she said.

This latest rally is among a handful of demonstrations organized by the Campaign to Stop Demo-Evictions in Burnaby, a coalition of housing groups which includes the Metrotown Residents Association, Social Housing Alliance and ACORN Burnaby.

“What we’re seeing right now is a lot of these rental buildings are still standing but they’ve been bought up by developers,” said Maria Wallstam, a rally organizer with the Social housing Alliance. “So, although they’re not demolished yet, they will be demolished in the coming years. So, I’m expecting that there will be hundreds of evicted people in the next few years.”

According to a report released earlier this year, 23 apartment buildings were sold in Metrotown last year, with 14 of them slated to become new market housing.

READ MORE: Foreign investors snap up Burnaby real estate

Four areas in the Vancouver suburb–Brentwood, Metrotown, Edmonds and Lougheed–are catching the eyes of investors. Wallstam says that’s no coincidence.

“There’s this idea of transit lead development here in Vancouver which is very popular, but really what it should be called is transit lead displacement because that’s what’s happening,” said Wallstam.

In the past, officials with the city of Burnaby have referred to their Community Benefit Bonus Policy, which allows them to consider developments in these popular neighbourhoods in exchange for a contribution.

However, protesters are asking the city to take another approach.

“We’ve been calling for a moratorium on the affordable and rental housing on the neighbourhood and there’s been no response whatsoever,” said Wallstam.