I'm closing the petition as I've handed it it in now.
I'll take the liberty of thanking you on behalf of my low-income neighbours.
For some of us, working on this petition or signing it, was an important political act. Those of you who signed online have tended to be better-off than most of my neighbours and so for you, signing a petition on affordable housing may have been just a small act of generosity. But going door-to-door, it became clear that some people felt empowered by the act of signing, perhaps because the petition was about them in relation to something they care deeply about: housing.
If you want to do more, go to a Council meeting and tell the Council that you want them to develop a policy to fill the gaps left by the RTA and Esquimalt's OCP. Thank you very much for your help.
To: Esquimalt City Council
Protection for Esquimalt’s Low-Income Renters
This campaign has ended.
In order to give Esquimalt Municipal Council time to develop a low income rentals policy - like the one in Vancouver and the one coming to Victoria - we want the Council to immediately halt the provision of development and renovation permits that result in a reduction of low-income rental units on and around the 600 blocks of Constance Avenue and Nelson Street.
Why is this important?
For many years, our neighbourhood, centred around the parallel 600 blocks of Constance Ave. and Nelson St. has contained one of the highest concentrations of low income rentals in the Greater Victoria area. While a few of us are home owners with Fairfield-perfect families, most of us are tenants, many of whom are on disability. (The shelter portion of a monthly disability cheque is under $400 for a single person.) Some of us are single parents. Some of us are seniors. Some of us have addictions. And some of us lack the social graces. So much so, in fact, that some of you wouldn't want some of us to move into your neighbourhood. We'd rather we stay here too. But we can't: our neighbourhood is being gentrified.
Over the last couple of years, developers have descended upon our neighbourhood, buying up buildings and houses in order to demolish them and then put up more expensive housing.The remaining landlords have started the predictable follow up: renovations on vacated suites that price rentals out of the reach of low-income people. The overall effect is a depletion in the stock of low-income housing, in an area where renters already struggle with a 0.7 vacancy rate, one of the lowest in Canada.
Unless the Esquimalt Council wants to end up being compared to Vancouver's Council under Mayor Gordon Campbell, it needs to stop treating our neighbourhood the way Campbell treated East Van. The Council needs to push pause on the developments and rent-increasing renos in this neighbourhood and to use the resultant time to come up with a policy requiring developers and renovating landlords to assist displaced tenants to find housing and to ensure that the stock of low-income housing is not further depleted. Vancouver has such a policy now and Victoria is implementing one in September.
We can't save our community. We know that we don't have that kind of power. But please sign our petition so that we can at least try to get Esquimalt to help ensure that some of our displaced neighbours don't end up living on the street.
How it will be delivered
*Please note* If you include your mailing address when signing the petition, your mailing address will be shared with Esquimalt Municipal Council when the petition is delivered.
Also, Esquimalt City Hall requires addresses from the Esquimaltians who sign in order for their signatures to count as such.