December 8, 2017 6:27 pm
Updated: December 9, 2017 2:25 am

Marpole residents want court to halt temporary homeless housing project construction

Protesters against a temporary housing project for the homeless to be located in Marpole.

Global News

Marpole residents who are protesting the location of a temporary modular housing project on a site adjacent to schools are taking the city to court, arguing that it “appears to have designed a plan to deprive the public and affected residents of the public hearing process.”

The residents, who have helped to form a group that calls itself the Caring Citizens of Vancouver Society, have filed a petition in the B.C. Supreme Court for judicial review of the City of Vancouver’s decision to build the project there.

WATCH: Marpole modular housing protest

It’s petitioning the court for a series of orders, including a declaration that the city “failed to provide proper notice” of a public hearing into a bylaw that facilitated the development of “low-cost housing for persons receiving assistance.”

The residents also want the court to declare that temporary modular housing is “not a permitted use of the property” at 650 57th Avenue, where the project is set to be located.

They also want the court to quash the development permit that allowed the project to be located there, to decide that the decision to issue one was unreasonable, or to say that the city “unlawfully fettered the discretion of the director of planning” when the permit was issued.

Finally, they’re seeing an injunction to ban construction of temporary modular housing on the site “unless and until certain legal requirements have been satisfied.”

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READ MORE: Because of Marpole protesters, homeless people may spend winter out in the cold: city

The city wants to locate a two-building, three-storey project on the site that would house 78 units, which would be set aside for people who are 45 years and older, and who currently live in shelters or on the street.

Marpole residents are going to court after the city and BC Housing obtained an injunction that prevents protesters from physically blocking entrances and sidewalks so that trucks can’t drive on to the site and start construction.

Marpole is not alone

But Marpole is not the only community where people are concerned about a temporary modular housing project.

There are also concerns for people who live near a site that’s been set aside for a project on Kaslo Street, and people there feel they won’t be able to do anything about it.

“The city’s consultation process is deliberately trying to downplay what they’re going to do. It’s not being done in good faith,” said resident James Tisdall, who first heard about the project on Global News and then received a notice about it in the mail  days later.

Under the area’s Renfrew Collingwood Community Plan, residents said they preferred single-family homes to maintain character and safety in the neighbourhood.

Tisdall also noted zoning and development bylaw 6361, which addresses density and development in the Kaslo Street and 29thAvenue Station area.

On the site where the modular housing project is planned, the bylaw says “the maximum dwelling unit density for multiple buildings shall be 35 units per hectare.”

The proposal is for 50 modular home units to be placed on the site.

But the city has overhauled zoning bylaws to make way for modular homes in an effort to address affordability.

“We’ve taken steps to streamline the process to create modular homes in neighbourhoods across Vancouver,” Abi Bond, the City of Vancouver’s director of affordable housing projects said.

“We did that in September of this year and now we’re actively looking for new sites, looking for ways to deliver these across the city.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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