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Families at West 4th and Collingwood face demoviction

It’s no secret that Vancouver is facing a housing crisis, with vacancy rates at record lows and a shortage of units available, particularly for families.

That’s why a proposed redevelopment at the corner of West 4th and Collingwood has several families wondering where they’ll go next.

The site is currently occupied by a four-storey building known as ‘Jericho Villa’ with twelve units, built in 1979.

Rental apartments West 4th and Collingwood
Current condition.

Although the building is strata, all of the units have been rented for the last two years after the building was sold as a redevelopment opportunity by Colliers.

Now a development application has been filed by the building’s owner for a new building, with only six units — half the number of units originally on the site, and no requirement they will be rental.

West 4th and Collingwood rendering
Rendering of proposed building at West 4th and Collingwood. Credit: Revery Architecture
West 4th and Collingwood rendering
Rendering of proposed building at West 4th and Collingwood. Credit: Revery Architecture

The design, by Revery Architecture, is modern and high-end, with a façade consisting of precast concrete, zinc and glass. 

urbanYVR spoke with a resident of Jericho Villa, Matt R., who says he only found out about the redevelopment when the city’s sign was erected in front of the building last week.

He says he’s disappointed to learn he will need to move out to make way for the redevelopment amidst a tight rental market, particularly for family-friendly units.

“The city of Vancouver is in the midst of a housing crisis. Vacancy rates are such that finding “affordable” housing is extremely challenging. This building, in which I am a tenant, has 12 suites big enough to house 12 families,” Matt told urbanYVR.

“It’s affordable – with rents approx. $2,500 for a two-bedroom suite. I’ve lived there with my two kids for less than a year. We were thrilled to find a home there. My sons go to the school nearby and I work nearby.”

Matt says he would like to see the city work with the owners to increase the number of units on the site, and ensure they are rental.

“Twelve families of moderate income, demovicted to make room for just six townhomes, none rental, that will be well out of reach for most people in this city. Is this the vision for Vancouver? Is this what city council and the mayor mean when they talk about increasing density and affordability? Does it make sense? I think the answer to all three questions is no.”

According to the City of Vancouver, under the site’s existing RM-4 zoning, the application is “conditional” so it may be permitted; however, it requires the decision of the Director of Planning, who must consider the submission of any advisory group, property owner or tenant.

Feedback on the proposal must be submitted by November 28, 2019 to the project coordinator, Niall Coffey: niall.coffey@vancouver.ca

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