A fight for a vanishing Vancouver

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A fight for a vanishing Vancouver

Postby Admin » Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:02 pm

http://www.vancouversun.com/fight+vanis ... story.html

A fight for a vanishing Vancouver

Older homes are being torn down at a rapid pace on the West Side

BY JOHN MACKIE, VANCOUVER SUN MARCH 23, 2014

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Kristin DeRose has only lived in Vancouver for six years. But she has found herself constantly on the move, because the houses she rents keep getting demolished.

“This is the third house I’ve lived in since I moved here that’s going to be torn down,” said DeRose, standing in the living room of a mid-century modern home at 4488 Cambie St.

“One was in Point Grey, at First and Tolmie, the other was at Victoria and 49th. (Those) two we were evicted (from) because they were being torn down — this one we moved in knowing it.”

DeRose is thankful for the relatively low rent she pays for a home that is about to be demolished ($1,800 a month for four bedrooms). But she’s perplexed why perfectly good houses keep getting knocked down.

“I find people (here) just neglect property,” she said. “They just crash through houses and build brand-new houses, constantly.”

Caroline Adderson feels the same way. And she decided to do something about it.

Last year, Adderson started a Facebook page, Vancouver Vanishes — “A lament for, and celebration of, the vanishing character homes in Vancouver.”

The page includes photos of heritage homes that have been torn down, plus mini-profiles (“Address: 3775 West 36th Avenue; Built: 1927; First Owner: George J. Kilpin, Musician, the Capitol Theatre; Status: DEMOLISHED”).

It has proven popular, with 3,277 Facebook “likes.” Now she has started an online petition calling on city council to “save Vancouver’s character houses.” After a month, it’s attracted 2,635 signatures.

But saving old houses in today’s red-hot real estate market is an uphill battle.

Houses in desirable west-side neighbourhoods like Kerrisdale, Point Grey and Dunbar routinely sell for $2 million or more. They are often sold to developers, who knock them down and put up a bigger home that sells for upwards of $4 million.

“And nobody lives in it,” said Adderson, an award-winning writer.

“It’s not an increase in density, it’s not green, and it’s not increasing affordability — the price of the house doubles. Nobody (in Vancouver) can buy it. And then it’s empty, because it’s bought by (overseas) investors, or developers who are building it to attract investors.

“It’s totally altering the neighbourhood, emptying the neighbourhood, everything.”

Many people feel the same way, and have made their feelings heard at City Hall. Council has responded by having staff put together a “heritage action plan” to try to save the city’s dwindling stock of heritage buildings.

Whether it will work is debatable.

Read more at: http://www.vancouversun.com/fight+vanis ... story.html
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