Protestors storm Burnaby council meeting over Metrotown development plan
Published Tuesday, July 25, 2017 10:26AM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 25, 2017 7:03PM PDT
Affordable housing advocates stormed a council meeting in Burnaby Monday night over a controversial development plan they say threatens to displace thousands of low-income residents in Metrotown.
“When the plan came up on the agenda, we stood up and said, ‘We’re not going to let you vote on this. You’re going to destroy housing that will affect the whole province,’ ” Ivan Drury, an organizer with the Stop Demovictions in Burnaby campaign, told CTV News.
The protestors interrupted a vote by councillors on a plan that would pave the way for an increase of high-density towers in Burnaby’s city centre. Proponents of the plan say it will benefit the city by adding housing near transit centers such as Metrotown Station and the Metropolis shopping mall.
Affordable housing advocates, however, say it will cost the area up to 3,000 affordable units and could displace as many as 6,000 low-income residents. Many opponents are airing their concerns on Twitter, using the hashtag @StopDisplacement.
City councillors retreated as the demonstrators took over council chambers for more than an hour on Monday. Online video show the protestors chanting lines such as “we need our homes” before RCMP officers entered the room.
But Drury said opponents of the plan weren’t just taking issue with the plan itself, but also with the timing of the vote.
“They do it July 24, the last council meeting before they all go on summer vacation. That means that these councillors who just made this decision won’t be vulnerable to scrutiny from the media. They’ll all be off in Hawaii or wherever they go for their summer vacation and they’ll come back in a month hopefully when it’s forgotten.”
Once police arrived, the protestors left of their own accord, Drury said.
Councillors then voted unanimously in favour of the development plan.
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Sarah MacDonald