Marine Gardens tenant relocation is most expensive of its kind

a challenge for city of Vancouver and developer
By Jeff Lee, The Vancouver Sun

VANCOUVER – A near-zero vacancy rate, the loss of 70 ground-oriented family homes and a proposed massive redevelopment in Vancouver’s fast-densifying Cambie Corridor have created a major headache for the city, a major developer and residents of Marine Gardens.

In what is being termed one of the most complicated and expensive tenant relocation programs in the city’s history, Vancouver is requiring Concord Pacific Ltd. to spend upwards of $1 million to help the remaining 50 families in the soon-to-be demolished 45-year-old housing development find new homes.

That requirement is turning out to be far more difficult than envisioned because of an extremely low vacancy rate, according to Brian Jackson, the city’s general manager of planning.

“One of the issues associated with this is the fact that there are 70 existing rental units in this location. With the vacancy rental rates being at historic lows, and with the concern of some existing residents being able to find a similar accommodation in the area, it has taken us longer to come up with an appropriate strategy for dealing with the tenants. With the vacancy rates having dropped further (since then), we have to help the tenants find new accommodation in the area or provide them financial support to find replacement housing that may be more costly to them.”

But residents of Marine Gardens at 445 Southwest Marine Drive say they don’t understand how a Vision Vancouver council with affordable housing as a keystone policy can approve the destruction of that very housing. Especially when it abuts the south Marpole region, a neighbourhood of largely affordable walk-up apartment buildings.

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