CityNews: Residents of affordable Centretown apartment building fighting proposed demolition

Posted January 7, 2022

The Ottawa chapter of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is joining residents at 142 Nepean St. in Centretown in their bid to persuade the city to reject a demolition proposal for their affordable building.

ACORN members who live at the six-unit building say one of the two-bedroom apartments is currently rented for $1,200 a month, which is a rare find in Centretown. They worry if tenants are forced out, they'll be facing hundreds of dollars added to their rent bill each month for a similar unit. 

"Since coming to Canada 5 years ago we've had to move every single year. My partner and I have lived here for less than eight months. We're at the point in our lives where we can't think about moving every year," says Anna Meurot, an ACORN tenant leader at 142 Nepean St. and a young professional who had hoped her immigration to Canada would bring with it some stability. 

"Not only does it take lots of energy to be constantly searching for a new place to live, but we don't know whether we'll be able to afford another place like this if we're forced to move."

A rally is being held at 142 Nepean St. at noon on Thursday, January 6.

ACORN members are asking city councillors who sit on Planning Committee, who have the power to reject the proposal submitted by Fotenn Planning & Design, to consider how approving the elimination of affordable units for the construction of a 30-vehicle parking lot contradicts the municipality's commitments to tackle the ongoing affordable housing crisis. 

Ottawa ACORN members are not only hoping the city rejects the proposal, but implements an anti-displacement policy similar to Burnaby, B.C., to protect all tenants at risk of 'demoviction.'  This would include:

  • A rental replacement bylaw that ensures units lost to redevelopment must be replaced at a ratio of 1:1 or 25 per cent of the total number of proposed units, whichever is greater
  • Tenants who are evicted have the first right of refusal to move back into the units created in the new development at the same rent and number of bedrooms
  • Ensure rent stabilization by providing temporary accommodations or a rental top up during construction
  • Four months notice for existing tenants
  • Moving costs assistance for when tenants relocate and again when they return
     

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Article by Mike Vlasveld for CityNews

 

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