It’s a busy Vancouver neighbourhood, that according to residents is riddled with problems reminiscent of the Downtown Eastside.
Police have been called to one building 215 times since May and that is more than 30 times a month, more than one call every day.
On Friday a cab driver was robbed in broad daylight and threatened with a needle.
The Olympic Village was marketed to families, retirees and young professionals. Some social housing was always on the table but condo owners say they did not bargain for this.
“I’ve seen an unfortunate drop in the cleanliness in the area because of random pets that people have,” says one resident. “There’s definitely a lot of garbage that has been left on the street, and graffiti, some people sleep on the stoops outdoors.”
“It’s become quite strange.”
Many neighbours would not talk on camera but the list of complaints is long: Furniture thrown from windows, fire alarms and obscenities shouted in the middle of the night, drug abuse and dealing, destruction of community gardens, possible stolen goods being dealt in the parkade and staff at nearby restaurants threatened.
Inside the building residents say there is more damage, wiring has been ripped from elevators, holes put in walls and weeks ago the third floor was completely flooded. Residents say it is not fair to them either.
“Some of the people have done damage to the building,” says one resident who did not want to be identified. “If there’s cabinets removed or there’s water damage that’s grounds for eviction right?”
Marguerite Ford Apartments is run by Rain City Housing and gets support from the province and city. They say they have hired extra security during the transition period and are trying to improve things with neighbors.
They provided a statement to Global News on Friday:
- Vancouver has long prided itself on the inclusion of diverse communities throughout the city, and this happens when people from various backgrounds learn how to co-exist in neighbourhoods throughout the city. In the neighbourhood around the Marguerite Ford building, this process is in the early stages. Progress has been made, though much work remains to be done.
- RainCity Housing believes strongly in the inclusion of people who have been homeless within our community, and it is an important part of our work to help our tenants and neighbours live well together in community.
- The majority of specific complaints that our neighbours have brought to us have been about noise. We are actively addressing these issues with our tenants and by adding additional staff at night.
- After 6 months of operating, we surveyed our tenants and this is what we learned:
- 83% said they are happy with their housing.
- 76% felt the recent changes have created a more positive living environment.
- 72% of tenants said their overall health has been excellent since moving in.
- We’ve formed a Community Advisory Committee that has representation from all stakeholders – BC Housing, Vancouver Police, The City of Vancouver, Sanford Housing, RainCity Housing and local community members and businesses.