The Joyce Area Residents Association (JARA) set up a speakers line-up on the same day as the City open house for the Joyce Station Precinct review, in which the City of Vancouver is proposing to re-zone the area for towers as tall as 35 storeys.
JARA members organized a speakers line-up with a renter, homeowner and local business owner to speak on our community’s key concerns. After the speeches, JARA members wore signs and pins into the City open house to examine the plans. Here are some of the key quotes from the speakers line up.
JARA is particularly concerned about how renters in the area will be impacted. The City’s statistics from the plans have even shown how high the rate of renters is in our neighbourhood. These people are particularly vulnerable to being priced out.
David, renter in the area being reno-victed
“I am a local renter. I’ve rented in the neighbourhood for just over 2 years now. Ive got to do some amazing things and met amazing people. I got a chance to organize an event at Collingwood Neighbourhood House so it’s been great but I have to admit that it’s been very challenging as well. Our family has moved now about 6 times in the past 10 years. It’s been extremely difficult for us to find housing that is affordable and that we can actually stay in for a long time. We thought Joyce would be the perfect spot because it seems like it is really affordable. But…just a few weeks ago, we were given notice by our landlord that we have to move out. As you know, the housing market is really hot right now. Rental properties, like the one that I live in, are the first to go. I’m hoping ot stay in the neighbourhood, we are looking for places. My huge concern around the development that is happening in the Joyce area is that it’s going to create more issues for more residents, specifically residents who cannot afford to live in high-rises. What about the residents? What about social housing? What about people who can’t afford to live in really expensive places? We need to make sure that everyone has places that they can afford to live in.”
Homeowners have also expressed that they want to be able to stay in the community and want to stop being pestered by developers and real estate agents to sell.
Jeffery C., howeowner in the area
“I currently live with my grandmother in a house that would be directly affected by this precinct review if it goes ahead. We have been getting a lot of mail, and door-to-door visitors from real estate agents asking us to sell. It has been creating a great sense of unease. My grandmother is disabled and unable to move, and it would be a huge burden on her and the family. I am also writing on behalf of my neighbours, if indeed they have not expressed these concerns already. The house beside me is a bungalow with three generations living together. They have a self-sustaining garden in the backyard. This is not an anomaly. There are, in fact, many houses like this, where multiple generations of families live together in the same dwelling. This is part of the culture and reality of the neighbourhood. It is a family-oriented and closely-knit area. There is a great sense of community and safety in this neighbourhood. If the proposed Joyce-Collingwood increased density changes were to go through, this community element would be removed. These families would be displaced, and would have to relocate somewhere else. My family has lived in this neighbourhood since 1959. Overtime, if has seen great change – some good, some bad – but for the most part, the change has been organic and gradual. The current proposed changes (Joyce-Collingwood precinct review) would be devastating.”
JARA is very proud of local, immigrant-owned businesses that have been thriving for many years at Joyce skytrain station. Initially, business owners were unaware of any development plans. JARA organizers visited every business near Joyce skytrain and shocked owners with the news. JARA pushed the City to meet and inform business owners of the plans that could displace them.
Sam, owner of Super Great Pizza aka Joyce Pizza (an east van favourite)
“I’ve been in this community for almost 20 years. One day, we heard that we are not good enough in maybe shortcoming years, we will not be here. 10 families are working because of us. Altogether, maybe 60 or 70 members of these families are going to lose everything. They are gonna go, maybe..I don’t know where. They are going to be out of the job, out of hope. This is not fair. Super guys with the money comes and they want to get everything. We shouldn’t surrender oru communities for the big corporation. As much as we can, we have to resist and say no. This is our community and this is our people. It shouldnt be too easy for them to take over our community. So goodluck, guys. We are going to win.”
In the words of JARA organizer, Chanel Ly, resident of over 10 years
My family were refugees fleeing a war-torn country and we find ourselves here defending what we have. The City is trying to change our community without our consent. We are here to stop rapid, unjust development that we fear will displace important members of our community and transform our neighbourhood to something we will no longer recognize. The City of Vancouver will be revealing the next phase of the (Review), which would identify housing opportunities in two blocks around Joyce station. They have proposed rezoning for apartments, town homes and towers up to 35 storeys. So far, there’s no commitment for providing truly affordable housing or culturally appropriate community amenities. The Development is clearly not for us. The City’s planning revolves around the so-called “transit oriented development”. The City’s need for this kind of development doesn’t have enough data or research to back it up. They refuse to conduct a proper assessment of these impacts. This is what you can call “transit-induced displacement”.
Stay tuned for more updates about what we learned at the City open houses on Feb. 3 and Feb. 6, including a deal between the church and the City. St. Mary’s has been fundraising for over 2 years to get money for their own church development. The City made a deal with them that will displace seniors in the Columbus Tower, a 100% social housing building for seniors. We will have more on this in another post.
Please share these testimonies with others so that they can understand the real impact that these plans are having on our community. If you would like to support our work, please sign our petition to the City.
Get in touch at joyceareaRA@gmail.com.
We tweet more than we post @joyceareaRA.