Nathan Davidowicz had somehow hoped that the province may save him, his sister, and their neighbours from losing their rental homes.
That is if only B.C. Housing can help the City of Vancouver purchase the properties they live in, which have been assembled for a townhouse development.
Davidowicz, a transit advocate, has suggested that the consolidated lot could be turned into low-rise rental apartments.
He has pointed out that this can house more people compared to the 70 townhouses proposed for 5327-5477 Oak Street and 1006-1008 West 37th Avenue.
Davidowicz noted that Oak Street is an arterial street served by transit, and so it makes sense to put more housing, especially rental, here.
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 37th Avenue.
In June of the same year, Formwerks Architecture filed an application with the City of Vancouver to rezone 5327-5477 Oak Street and 1006-1008 West 37th Avenue.
If the rezoning is approved by city hall, Davidowicz, who lives with his sister, and their neighbours will lose their rental homes.
Davidowicz has brought the matter to the attention of David Eby, who is the Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing.
Following a virtual conversation, Davidowicz sent a follow-up email on December 13, 2021.
In that email, the Vancouver transit advocate noted to Eby that the city made a mistake with its Cambie Corridor Plan, which is the basis of the proposed townhouse development.
Davidowicz wrote that city council can reject the rezoning application and ask the developers to instead consider a “combination of Rental and Strata apartments”.
“Maybe you can talk to the Mayor and Councillors,” he urged Eby.
Davidowicz added: “Where BC Housing can help by offering Cities money ( loan or cash ) to buy houses on major streets and turn them into Rental Apartments.”
On Thursday (January 6, 2022), Davidowicz got a reply from Eby.
“I am sorry to hear about the stress caused to you and your family by the potential redevelopment of the home you rent,” Eby wrote.
The B.C. minister responsible for housing stated that he understands Davidowicz’s “concerns about demovictions, especially in light of increasing rents across the province and in the Region of Metro Vancouver”.
“However, the Province and BC Housing are not able to purchase these properties at this time,” Eby wrote.
The minister made some suggestions.
“If you feel the landlord has not upheld their obligations under the Residential Tenancy Act, you may apply to the RTB [Residential Tenancy Branch] for dispute resolution,” Eby recommended.
Or, Davidowicz can “contact the RTB and speak directly with an Information Officer”.
As well, the City of Vancouver has a City of Vancouver has a Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy, which may be useful for Davidowicz.
“Again, I am sorry to hear of the stress on you and your family,” Eby wrote.
The rezoning application has yet to be considered by city council.
In the December 17 media release, Grosvenor and Citimark noted that the property is “one of the few remaining sites on Oak Street planned for townhome development”.
The land assembly is located across from the VanDusen Botanical Garden, and Oak Meadows Park.
“The vision for the project is to be visually distinctive and contemporary while keeping with the Shaughnessy neighbourhood character, with an emphasis on timeless material selection and well-considered details,” the release stated.