Monday, Nov 14, 2016 

 

Housing

Burnaby residents Try to Halt Demovictions

Could it happen in Chilliwack?

Submitted by Ian Drury

 

Demoviction protesters rally against City Hall bobbleheads to save  3000 homes or face living on the streets.

 

esidents from across the Lower Mainland gathered together in Burnaby today rallying against the City of Burnaby’s Downtown Metrotown Plan.

 

Residents marched through the streets, blocking traffic, and listened to residents’ stories of demoviction. Carrying signs, handing out leaflets to pedestrians, and chanting together, residents showed that resistance is building and people are working together to oppose the plan.
 
Erika Schinzel, a Metrotown resident, told the crowds: “We have moved here to live and raise our families and we’re being thrown out,” Schinzel told the crowd about the opportunity that the City of Burnaby has. “Council does have a choice to stop this humanitarian crisis in the making: they can stop granting development permits right now and yes, they can demovict the plan.”
 
And while all residents will be at risk of homelessness if this plan is approved, some people are more at risk than others.

 

Alana Prochuk, a supporter of the residents who advocates for women’s rights, said “It’s hard to overstate the danger posed by the Metrotown plan for women.” Prochuk also informed the marchers how poverty affects women differently, which is critical to recognize. “Thirty six per cent of Indigenous women live in poverty and will be forced into the street by Burnaby’s demoviction plan”.
 


Rick McGowan, a member of the Metrotown Residents Association, spoke about his realization that the City of Burnaby wasn’t listening to residents’ concerns. “When we first pointed out what was happening, we hoped they would appreciate the unintended consequence of the mass displacement caused by the first couple of developments. With each new application it became increasingly clear that displacement was not a consequence, but rather the intention.”

 

 

McGowan continued by acknowledging the evident plans of the City. “It is clear, the City and its developer friends, want to cleanse the neighborhood of low-income renters.”
 

 

The march came to a close at the library where Sara Sagaii, a representative with COPE, spoke about how to resist when renters receive an eviction notice. “We must physically resist this irrational violence. Tear up the damn pieces of paper. Tell the city we are through obeying. We are not disposable and we will fight them to prove this. Hell no, We won't go!”
 
Murray Martin, an organizer with ACORN Burnaby celebrated the turnout and the collective efforts of the attendees and partnering organizations. “This is the biggest march we’ve seen in Burnaby. I’ve lived here since the mid-eighties and I’ve never seen a march like this!”

 

 

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