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Hampstead mayor vetoes decision to not demolish affordable housing complex

Dozens of Hampstead residents oppose the demolition of an affordable housing complex. Shakti Langlois-Ortega/Global News

Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg used his veto power to overturn a vote that would block the demolition of an affordable housing complex during an awaited council meeting on Monday night.

Three out of five council members voted against the project that allows a zoning change, authorizing two buildings to be torn down to make way for a nine-storey luxury apartment construction.

The three-to-two vote meant the project could not move forward — but Steinberg vetoed the decision, arguing that one council member was missing.

READ MORE: Hampstead postpones decision on demolition request for affordable housing complex

A new vote will be held during the next council meeting on August 5.

“When I came in tonight, I expected that [the project] would pass unanimously,” said Steinberg, who is openly in favour of the demolition.
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On Monday evening, the demolition committee voted in favor of the demolition, but it can only move forward if council members vote in favour as well.

A public consultation was scheduled for Monday night, but after the mayor’s decision to overturn the vote, it was cancelled. According to Hampstead’s town clerk Pierre Tapp, there were no legal grounds to have a consultation on a project that was not approved. 

READ MORE: Hampstead tenants in affordable housing worry about plans to demolish building

A new public consultation will be scheduled if council members vote to approve the project on August 5 — in which case, residents will be able to appeal the decision, Tapp said.

Residents who would be affected can draw up a petition.  If there are enough signatures — approximately 10 per cent — then the town will decide whether to hold a referendum.

The final decision will be announced on September 3, according to the City.

Relocation plan

Many residents oppose the project, but building owners are trying to find common grounds. A letter to tenant details a proposed relocation plan.

Residents would have 14 months to find new accommodation — until November 2020 — and they would be given a compensation equivalent to three months’ rent. They would also receive a $1,000 moving allowance, plus an additional $2,000 for residents who have lived in the building for over 10 years.

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The owner also promise to set side five apartments for current tenants, at 15 per cent bellow the market rent.

WATCH: (June 26, 2019) Hampstead tenants in a low-income housing worry plans to demolish building will leave them homeless

Click to play video: 'Hampstead tenants in a low-income housing worry plans to demolish building will leave them homeless' Hampstead tenants in a low-income housing worry plans to demolish building will leave them homeless
Hampstead tenants in a low-income housing worry plans to demolish building will leave them homeless – Jun 26, 2019

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