New tool helps displaced residents

The City of Vernon wants assurances that developers treat tenants fairly when they are evicted.

The City of Vernon wants assurances that developers treat tenants fairly when they are evicted.

Council has instructed staff to investigate how other communities handle the displacement of people from low-income housing due to redevelopment and formulas they may use for compensation for tenants.

“I’m so happy we found out that we have a legal ability to do this,” said Coun. Bob Spiers.

“This is another tool the community has to help people displaced by development.”

The issue arose when the city recently considered plans for a 37-unit seniors-oriented apartment on 30th and 29th avenues. If the project proceeds, about 36 tenants will have to leave the former motel and three houses on the site.

Coun. Juliette Cunningham says there must be a mechanism to trigger increased compensation for tenants beyond what developers must pay under provincial laws.

“There isn’t much (housing) available for the price they’ve been paying,” said Cunningham of rental conditions in Vernon.

City staff will also look at ways to ensure they are aware of low-income housing losses and all options available around compensation for displaced tenants.

Coun. Patrick Nicol hopes a co-operative process that involves all stakeholders can be created.

“We want buy-in from the development community,” he said.