Vision Landslide Boon to West End Renters

gregor robertson new vancouver mayor 2 300x225 Vision Landslide Boon to West End Renters

Gregor Robertson is Vancouver

The landslide victory by Gregor Robertson and his Vision Vancouver team is cause for celebration for the residents of the Seafield Apartments in Vancouver’s West End. The residents, who have been threatened with eviction by their new landlords, Jason Gordon and Chris Nelson (Gordon Nelson Investments Inc.), have a powerful ally in Robertson who promised, in a press conference on the Seafield’s front steps November 9th, that he would safeguard renters’ rights and address the increasing city-wide crisis of renovation driven evictions.

“Vision Vancouver council will direct staff at City Hall to carefully scrutinise all the permits for renovation and ensure that in fact they are necessary renovations needed to bring a building up to code, up to standard and ensure that the interests of the renters are being taken into consideration by the landlord,” Robertson said.

Gordon Nelson Investments Inc., the owners of the Seafield since July 31, 2008, told  the tenants in a meeting on September 9th of the company’s plans for the building, which include rewiring the electrical system; adding a dividing wall across existing living rooms to create “extra bedrooms”; updating the kitchens; replacing the existing clean-burning natural gas boiler with individual electric heaters (costs to be then borne by the tenants); and converting the laundry room/bicycle storage into a bachelor suite. In order to complete these renovation Mr. Nelson claimed that the tenants would have to vacate their suites.

Seafield residents have told Gordon Nelson Investments Inc. (GNI) repeatedly that they will do whatever is necessary to accommodate renovations while maintaining their existing tenancies–something previously accomplished with full cooperation and ease between Seafielders and their former landlords when major building upgrades such as replumbing and the replacement of all windows were undertaken. GNI has repeatedly indicated that they are not interested in pursuing that option.

Residents of the Seafield have paid the legal maximum rental increase every year since their tenancies began. GNI plans to rent the apartments for 80% to 100% more than current rents. They also had the opportunity to renovate a suite that was vacant upon their possession of the building, but have not embarked on that opportunity, choosing instead the path of mass eviction.

Gordon Nelson Investments Inc., which operates under several numbered companies, has silently evicted at least three West End buildings: 1057 Barclay Street, 1133 Barclay Street, and 1209 Jervis Street.

Since the September 9 meeting, Seafielders have been anxiously waiting for the eviction notices that will effectively force them to leave their homes and close-knit community that regards each other as family. Dana Crudo, a 34-year-old Seafield resident is due to give birth for the first time on February 1. If she is served with an expected eviction notice from Gordon Nelson Investments Inc., she and her husband, Bobby Crudo, will possibly have to deal with childbirth and moving on the same day.

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