Compensation sought for tenants

The City of Vernon hopes to leverage more support for people relocated by development.

The City of Vernon hopes to leverage more support for people relocated by development.

There are plans for a 37-unit seniors-oriented apartment in the 3900 block of 30th and 29th avenues, and council wants the developer to consider increased compensation for the about 36 tenants of the former motel and three houses currently on the site.

“I am concerned about the relocation of these people,” said Coun. Bob Spiers.

“Hopefully staff will come back with the possibility of requiring more compensation. I want to know if it’s legal.”

Spiers says it may be possible to pursue compensation beyond one month’s rent.

Some of the tenants have stated they may have difficulties finding new homes they can afford.

“Vacancy rates are higher but affordability is still high,” said Coun. Buffy Baumbrough, adding that rent has not dropped significantly in Vernon.

The city’s affordable housing committee will also review the broad issue of housing being lost through redevelopment.

Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe was opposed to asking the developer to provide more assistance to the tenants.

“We have clear laws provincially on what’s required (for compensation),” she said.

“Now is not the time for the city to set a precedent to increase demands. We should not be encumbering people when they are investing in the city.”

Representatives for the property owner — Mayfield Homes — have previously stated that  provincial legislation provides for moving costs for tenants impacted by redevelopment and it determines the timeline for eviction notice.

Council has approved third reading of bylaws that would allow the seniors-oriented development to move ahead. Final approval is still required.