Burnaby Now July 13 2016

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  • ByJeremyDeutschjdeutsch@burnabynow.com

    It was all hands on deck forthe Burnaby Fire Department ascrews battled two separate firesTuesday morning.The first fire started around 3

    a.m. in a vacant business at King-sway and 13th Avenue and spreadto a second business before crewsgot control of the blaze.Burnaby assistant fire chief Bry-

    an Kirk noted a nearby townhomehad minor damage, but firefighterswere able to stop the blaze fromgetting into the residential struc-ture.An hour later, a second fire

    broke out at a home on the cornerof Government Road and Burn-lake Drive.In that case, Kirk said the struc-

    ture was a hoarders home thatfirefighters couldnt access to fight

    because of the clutter.By daylight, the fires were pret-

    ty much out, but crews were stilldealing with a few hotspots.There were no injuries report-

    ed at either fire, and the causes of

    both blazes are under investiga-tion.The two two-alarm fires also left

    the department short-staffed.Kirk explained the department

    needed to call in off-duty mem-

    bers to help fight the fires, butthey didnt need any aid from oth-er communities.We were spread pretty thin

    there, thats for sure, in my 34years thats probably the busi-

    est night Ive heard in a while, hetold theNOW.

    JeremyDeutschjdeutsch@burnabynow.com

    Its a question that any-one keeping a close eye onthe real estate market in

    MetroVancouver is desper-ate to answer:Who is buy-ing real estate in the region?Last week, the provinces

    finance minister provided asnapshot of the answer, re-

    leasing the first set of datarelated to real estate trans-actions in B.C.Of the 10,148 residen-

    tial real estate transactionsin B.C. between June 10and June 29, a total of 3.3per cent, or 337 transac-tions, were made by foreignnationals, according to gov-

    ernment stats.In Burnaby, 10.9 per

    cent of real estate transac-tions during that time pe-riod were made by foreignnationals.That figure works out

    to $31.4 million, or 10 percent of the total investmentmade in real estate in Burn-

    aby in the 20-day period.In Richmond, the num-

    ber of foreign buyers was 14per cent, while inVancouverit was four per cent.The data is drawn from

    the filings of property trans-fer tax forms by purchasersof residential real estate.But one outspoken Burn-

    aby city councillor doesntbuy the numbers.Coun.NickVolkow said

    the data collected in such asmall time period doesntreally tell the public any-thing and argued the pro-vincial government is tryingto dodge the issue.

    WEDNESDAY JULY 13, 2016 LOCAL NEWS LOCAL MATTERS

    NEWS 5 COMMUNITY 9 COMMUNITY 18New energy plant coming Donor match needed for sick mother Libraries pop up in city

    Theres more at Burnabynow.com

    Howmanyforeignbuyersarethere?REALESTATESTATISTICS

    BLAZING A firefighter is on sceneat Kingswayand13thAvenue,where a vacant commercial propertywent up in flames early Tuesdaymorning. A shortwhile later, crewswere called toahomeonBurnlakeDrivewhenanother firebrokeout. PHOTOSHANEMACKICHAN

    Continuedonpage4

    FIRES

    Crewsbattle twoblazes inBurnaby

    HOUSINGACTIVISTS

    OCCUPYVACANT

    BUILDING

    SEE PAGE 3

    Initial numbers show 11 per centof homes sold to foreign nationals

    WATCH FOR UPDATES ONLINE

    www.burnabynow.com

    Vacant business anda hoarders homewent up in flamesTuesday morning

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  • 2 WEDNESDAY July 13, 2016 BurnabyNOW

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  • Citynow

    ByJeremyDeutschjdeutsch@burnabynow.com

    The hallways of 5025 Im-perial St. are nearly pitchblack. Its quiet except forthe pinging of a fire alarmmonitor at the front en-trance.The only light comesin naturally from openapartment doors. On themanagers desk is a pile ofunit keys.In one apartment, gar-

    bage and toys have beenstrewn about the livingroom,while in other units,unopened mail from B.C.Hydro and B.C.Housinglies at the foot of the door.The power was shut off

    days ago, and the building isempty.The last person evict-ed was out on July 3.On Saturday, the build-

    ing, slated for demolition tomake way for a new highrisetower, became ground zeroin the escalating the battlewith city hall over the issueof demovictions.The groupAlliance

    Against Displacement,which has organized theStop Demovictions Burna-by campaign, occupied thevacant building Saturday af-ternoon.As ofTuesday, thegroup continued the occu-pation of the building.Ivan Drury, a spokesper-

    son for the group, told theNOW, the group intendsto stay in the building untiltheyre removed by police.Drury said the group is

    calling on the city to stopdemolition of buildings inthe area and is asking for amoratorium on demolishingrental buildings in Burnaby.We have no choice but

    to break these laws that arehurting people and takemore drastic action to try todefend peoples lives againstthese policies, he said.Drury said the RCMP

    would let the group stay un-til the developer had an in-junction to have them re-moved. Its unclear whenthe situation will be re-solved.TheNOW reached out to

    Amacon Developments, thedeveloper that owns the site,but the company did notreturn calls prior to pressdeadline.The group behind the

    campaign has put the blameon the citys developmentpolicies and the developersfor the demolition and evic-tion of hundreds of peo-ple and units in the area. InMay, the campaign releaseda study that suggested near-

    ly 1,400 people face evic-tion and displacement in theMetrotown area.Drury said the group has

    been patient,making everyeffort to address city coun-cil, but he suggested resi-dents feel disrespected andnot heard.He noted the group is

    still waiting to hear backfrom the city for a responsefrom a demoviction reportthey conducted and gave tocouncil in May.The group also had a ral-

    ly planned forTuesday eve-ning, after theNOWs pressdeadline.

    RESIDENTS STORIES

    Meanwhile, the stories ofdisplaced residents continueto emerge.Sherry Chen is a new im-

    migrant who moved to theMetrotown area five yearsago and is worried about hersecond eviction.The young mother ex-

    plained she lived in an olderlow-rise apartment on Dun-blane Avenue but was evict-ed when developers boughtup buildings on the street.Chen said she watched

    her entire block get evicted.I saw the place getting

    teared down one-by-one.Its very sad, she said. Youwould see older people, theycant move, so they throwaway their furniture, leaveeverything. I dont knowwhere they go.She lives in the same area

    but cant afford to moveto another part of the cityor buy into the new apart-ments being built.All these highrise build-

    ings, if I cant afford to buy,where can I rent?Chentold theNOW last week at apublic meeting, adding thecity needs to act now to helppeople in her situation. Weshould be able to live local-ly. Rich and poor people canlive in harmony.Another resident named

    Dale also lived in the areafor 18 years until he wasevicted at the beginning ofJuly.Hes now staying at afriends place but isnt surewhere hes going to go.Dale, who didnt want

    to use his last name, saidhe paid $900 a month forrent and cant find any-thing in that price range inthe neighbourhood.He saidhe doesnt want to move toSurrey or NewWestminsterand is imploring city poli-

    ticians to halt the develop-ment in the area.My theory is they dont

    give a shit about the peo-ple that live here.The y justthrow them out and go findsomeplace else to live, hesaid.

    MAYORSRESPONSE

    Mayor Derek Corrigan

    noted the occupation of theImperial Street building isa private matter, but he wasquick to blame provincialand federal governments forthe current situation.I dont try to be defen-

    sive about this, because Iknow that people need torecognize the provincial andfederal governments have

    not been doing their job forsuch an extended period oftime.We are in a zone that iscatastrophic for some peo-ple and some families, andI dont know how to get usout of that, because localgovernment doesnt havethe tools, he said.

    STOPTHEDISPLACEMENT KayeBedfordwaves topassing traffic toget their attention.Activists areoccupyinganapartmentbuildingat5025 Imperial St. inBurnabytoprotest the continueddemolitionof affordable rental property in the city and its replacementbyhigh-pricedcondos. PHOTOJENNIFERGAUTHIER

    ACLOSERLOOK

    Housingactivistsoccupyvacantbuilding

    Sendingamessage:AmyandNkaiaBobbpost signsoutside theoccupiedbuildingat 5025 Imperial St.PHOTOJENNIFERGAUTHIER

    Continuedonpage4

    BurnabyNOW WEDNESDAY July 13, 2016 3

  • 4 WEDNESDAY July 13, 2016 BurnabyNOW

    Citynow

    The reality is, the ordi-nary person on the streethas been more than awarefor at least the last threeyears of what has been go-ing on, he told theNOW.Theres more than enoughinformation in all kinds ofsources about the mon-ey flooding out of China inparticular, and its impact-ing our market here.Volkow insisted the in-

    formation to back up his

    claims is available, suggest-ing government agencieslike the Canadian RevenueAgency and the FinancialTransactions and ReportsAnalysis Centre of Canadaare not doing their jobs.We are being let down

    and failed by our govern-ments, he said.The councillor is also

    critical of the argumentthat part of the problem isthe supply of new housingunits. He suggested the pro-

    vincial government is tryingto deflect responsibility tomunicipal governments.Theres plenty of sup-

    ply, he said. Heres theproblem, the supply is be-ing purchased as a stock byforeign money, thats whatshappening.The provincial govern-

    ment also released esti-mates on the future supplyof homes in six communi-ties in MetroVancouver.Among the six, Burnaby

    led the way with 30,000 es-timated homes, which wasmore thanVancouver andSurrey. In all, 108,000 fu-ture homes are expected tobe built within the six mu-nicipalities that also includeNewWestminster, Rich-mond and Coquitlam.In a press conference with

    the media, Finance MinisterMike de Jong expressed hisconfidence in the numbersand the method to gath-er them, but he noted the

    information was collectedover a limited period.He explained the disclo-

    sure of citizenship or per-manent residency is partof the tax filing process un-dertaken by lawyers, point-ing out there are penaltiesassociated with providingfalse information. De Jongalso indicated the govern-ment may be taking furthersteps to limit the prospectof fraud.We have begun to collect

    the data in as an accurateway as we can to answer thefundamental question: Howmany foreign nationals areparticipating in the real es-tate market in British Co-lumbia? the minister said.In MetroVancouver,

    there were 5,118 transac-tions in the same time peri-od worth nearly $5.4 billion,while 5.1 per cent, or 260,involved foreign nationalsworth $351 million.

    Continued frompage1

    Citycouncillorskepticalofprovincialnumbers

    The mayor also said thecity needs to accept newpeople into the area to keepup with the growth demandof one million people mov-ing to the region.He said the growth puts

    cities in a difficult position.He argued the city doesnthave the authority to stopthe demolition of buildings,and if the properties werentrezoned to a higher densi-ty, they would still be torndown and replaced underexisting zoning.We do what we think

    is best for the communi-ty, and that is to look to in-crease the number of peoplewho can live in an area clos-est to transit, he said. Asa result, the tendency is to

    blame us for the problemsthat are occurring.Corrigan acknowledged

    the units being built in thenew towers are unaffordablefor the people who formerlylived in the older buildingsbut said subsidizing isnt anoption.Now its a question of

    subsidizing in perpetuity therents of a certain amountof people. If youre luckyenough to live in a buildingthats demolished and nowyou get a $2,500 apartmentfor $1,000 for the rest ofyour life, that isnt fair andwho pays for it? he said.The other citizens of yourcity pay to subsidize that.Instead, Corrigan said,

    the city is taking density bo-nus money from develop-

    ment, putting 20 per centinto a housing fund and ac-quiring land in differentplaces for various groups todevelop.Meanwhile, the recent

    action by members of theStop Demoviction cam-paign comes on the heels ofa face-to-face meeting withcity planners at a public in-formation session.Several dozen people

    showed up to the meetingat Burnaby NeighbourhoodHouse last week to meetwith planners over proposedchanges to the MetrotownDevelopment Plan.The two-hour meet-

    ing ended up being a backand forth between the twosides, with city planners ex-plaining and defending the

    plan, while residents pep-pered staff with questions

    and personal stories of evic-tions over development inthe area.At times testy, the plan-

    ners were grilled over ques-tions on what the plan will

    do to help those facing pos-sible evictions in the neigh-bourhood.TheMetrotown Develop-

    ment Plan update is a docu-ment that lays out a visionfor the area for the next fewdecades, including a focusonMetrotown becomingthe citys downtown.The plan is also calling

    for change in the land usethat would see portions ofthe area along Kingswayget designations for 12-sto-rey-plus highrises.The cityplanners pointed out any re-zoning applications wouldstill have to be approved bycouncil on...