Two Big Events: Community Action Meeting May 27th and City Hall Meeting June 10th

We’re coming up on a critical few weeks in our community campaign to protect affordable rents in the face of rezoning and redevelopment around skytrain stations.

If you rent in an older, low-rise building in downtown New West, please come to the Community Action Meeting on Monday, May 27th at 6:30pm in Qayqayt Elementary School’s Library.

For more information, read on.

Community Outreach

Key to any of our campaigns is having a deep understanding of the real issues tenants are facing and what solutions they actually need. That's why, during the last 7 weeks, we have been hitting the streets every Tuesday and Saturday to connect with tenants in the 800 metres surrounding Columbia Skytrain Station. The reception has been awesome! People in the area saw our banner and stopped by to say a kind word of encouragement or tell us their story of eviction or landlord harassment. Many tenants who are worried about the future of their neighbourhood in Downtown New West have let us into their buildings to talk to their neighbours about getting organized. Dozens of tenants in those buildings have filled out our New West Rent Survey to help us show the city the harmful effect eviction and displacement would have on them and their neighbourhoods.

It's not hard to show either, as New West has some of the highest market rents in the Province.

Below, you can see the 30+ buildings in the Downtown New West area that could experience pressure to be redeveloped under the new provincial zoning laws. If they were redeveloped today under the current law, tenants would only receive support via a small one-time payment and moving costs. For most of the renters we’ve talked to, this compensation would quickly disappear from their bank accounts if they had to pay today’s market rents. They would have no choice but to move out of the city or, in many cases, out of the province.

Burnaby has a tenant relocation policy that requires developers to give displaced tenants new suites at the same rent AND that the developer pay the difference in rent to tenants for wherever they have to live while redevelopment is happening.

We propose that the city of New Westminster implement a similar or better law to protect renters here, but we need support from the community to get it passed at city hall.

If you live in any of the following buildings, reply to this email so we can talk about getting your neighbours educated and involved.

Community Action Meeting Monday May 27th at Qayqayt Elementary 6:30pm

All the tabling, leafleting around Columbia Skytrain Station, and door knocking in the surrounding rental buildings has led up to our Community Action Meeting this coming Monday, May 27th at 6:30pm at Qayqayt Elementary (85 Merivale St).

Now is the time for concerned tenants in the neighbourhood to come out, meet your neighbours and learn how you can fight for your right to be a part of this city now and into the future.  We will be preparing ourselves to go to New Westminster City Hall on June 10th. The NWTU has been working with Douglas College professor Elliot Rossiter, who is the principal author of a proposal to strengthen New Westminster’s tenant relocation policy.  Elliot has been a frequent guest at our monthly public meetings and is the director of Changing the Conversation, a multi-year project on housing justice.  

We want a strong representation of tenants to make sure that the City Council listens to our concerns, takes us seriously and develops a strong policy to protect tenants from displacement.

Here is a quick summary of what we will cover in our Monday May 27th meeting:

  • Summary of the stronger Tenant Relocation Policy proposal to New West City Council
  • Summary of our community outreach and the New West Rent Survey
  • What to expect at City Hall on June 10th

This is only the start.  If the proposal is successful and passes, they will send it to city staff for the summer to come up with an official policy.  It is likely that it won't come back to a City Council meeting until late this year to be voted on.

It is vital that we take the initiative and send a message that tenants in New West are a force in this city.

Let’s come together as a community and make this happen!