Nathan Davidowicz had somehow hoped the province would save him, his sister and their neighbors from losing their rental accommodation.
That’s if only BC Housing can help the city of Vancouver buy the properties they live in, which have been put together for a townhouse development.
Davidowicz, a public transport advocate, suggested the consolidated lot could be turned into low-rise rental apartments.
He pointed out that this can house more people than the 70 townhouses offered for 5327-5477 Oak Street and 1006-1008 West 37th Avenue.
Davidowicz noted that Oak Street is a major transit artery, so it makes sense to move more housing there, especially rental housing.
On December 17, 2021, the Grosvenor Group and Citimark Properties announced the purchase of eight lots at this southwest corner of Oak Street and West 37e Street.
In June of the same year, Formwerks Architecture filed an application with the City of Vancouver to change the zoning of 5327-5477 Oak Street and 1006-1008 West 37th Avenue.
If the rezoning is approved by the town hall, Davidowicz, who lives with his sister, and their neighbors will lose their rental units.
Davidowicz brought the matter to the attention of David Eby, who is the Attorney General and Minister responsible for Housing.
Following a virtual chat, Davidowicz sent a follow-up email on December 13, 2021.
In that email, the Vancouver transit advocate told Eby that the city had made a mistake with its plan for the Cambie Corridor, which is the basis of the townhouse development project.
Davidowicz wrote that city council may reject the rezoning request and ask developers to consider a “combination of Rental and Strata apartments” instead.
âMaybe you can talk to the mayor and the councilors,â he urged Eby.
Davidowicz added, âWhere BC Housing can help by providing cities with money (loan or cash) to buy houses on main streets and turn them into rental apartments. “
Thursday, January 6, 2022, Davidowicz received a response from Eby.
âI’m sorry to hear about the stress caused to you and your family by the potential redevelopment of the house you are renting,â Eby wrote.
The British Columbia minister responsible for housing has said he understands Davidowicz’s “concerns about demolitions, especially in light of rising rents in the province and in metro Vancouver.”
âHowever, the province and BC Housing are unable to purchase these properties at this time,â Eby wrote.
The minister made some suggestions.
“If you think the landlord has not met their obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act, you can ask RTB [Residential Tenancy Branch] for dispute resolution, âEby recommended.
Or, Davidowicz can “contact RTB and speak directly with an information officer.”
Additionally, the City of Vancouver has a City of Vancouver that has a Relocation and Tenant Protection Policy, which may be helpful for Davidowicz.
âOnce again, I’m sorry to hear that you and your family are under stress,â Eby wrote.
The zoning change request has not yet been reviewed by city council.
In the Dec. 17 press release, Grosvenor and Citimark noted that the site is “one of the few remaining sites on Oak Street slated for townhouse development.”
The site is located across from the VanDusen Botanical Garden and Oak Meadows Park.
âThe vision for the project is to be visually distinctive and contemporary while retaining the character of the Shaughnessy neighborhood, emphasizing a selection of timeless materials and thoughtful details,â the statement said.