A tenants meeting has been arranged for today (March 5) , by the Unemployed Action Centre, to discuss a settlement offer tenants at the recently ‘renovicted’ properties of Pinecrest Townhouses, and Oceanfront at First Ave.
Identical written settlement offers were taped to tenants doors on March 3.
The written offer of settlement does not address where the evicted families may go, but does offer a total of four months compensation in rent abatement to the affected tenants conditional on signing an agreement to leave.
“The papers were just taped to the door again,” Betty Hill, a senior citizen at First Ave. said. “I don’t understand why the landlords don’t want to talk to me. I’ve lived here 20 years, since 2001. I just don’t feel comfortable with any of this. Not from the beginning.”
“The tenants are frustrated. Calls are not being returned. If you have tenants who are reaching out, and calls are not returned, frustrations just keep mounting, ” Paul Legace, tenant advocate for the Unemployed Action Centre, said.
A meeting for the 35 families from Pine Crest is at 5 p.m., on March 5, with a second meeting at 7 p.m. for the families at First Ave., The meetings will be at the Fishermen’s Hall.
“I believe there’s an open door for dialogue, but it may be more difficult after the meeting. The offer is genuinely appreciated, but it’s unclear. There are key aspects that are unclear and the dialogue would make it understandable. It is crucial to this situation,” Legace said.
“The meeting is to go over legal rights, what the notices mean, the first right of refusal and what it entails,” Legace said. “We’re going to talk about the actual offer and what it means, plus the probabilities and risks of filing a dispute.”
Tenant’s may have different issues depending on circumstance, Legace said, some folks may have further protections under the legislation. Legace is hoping the new property owners will introduce themselves and attend or call in for the meeting.
“Im still reaching out to the owners in hopes they will participate. I’ve read their statement, where it says they’ve reached out to me and they haven’t,” Legace said.
The statement Legace referred to was received by The Northern View, but not by tenants. The unsigned statements were sent as attachments from the email address of Dale Schuss, president of RandallNorth Real Estate Services, and did not identify who the actual owners of the properties are or who wrote the statement.
The new owner of the First Ave. property has been identified on the written settlement offer provided to tenants as a numbered company. The company 1232062 B.C. Ltd is operating as “Oceanfront Restoration Initiative” and has listed RandallNorth Real Estate Ltd. acting in the capacity of agent. The same can be said for the the new owner of the Pinecrest Townhouses, 1232949 B.C Ltd. who is operating under the name of “Pinecrest Restoration Initiative.” In the statement sent to the Northern View, the First Ave. property was referred to as “Ocean View Restoration Initiative.”
“The renovations are too comprehensive to allow people to stay: the presence of toxic components and the extent of required work means continued occupancy would endanger the well-being and the health of residents,” the statement said.
The numbers of residents affected in unclear. Tenants said it is close to 200 people affected, the landlords said they don’t know for sure but their estimation is less.
“As of today, we have provided compensation offers to all the 29 notices to tenants at the Pinecrest site and four notices to the Ocean View. Although we don’t know specifically how many people are in each family, the number of individuals impacted is closer to 125 versus 200.”
”We know this can be a stressful and disruptive time for Pinecrest and Ocean View tenants and their families, and that is why, from the outset of this project, we had always planned provide a compensation package to help tenants during this transition period,”, the statement said.
“Later this week are meeting with a representative of the tenants at the Prince Rupert Unemployed Action Centre to provide them with more information and are also providing information about the compensation offers to the Mayor and local MLA,” the statement said.
Calls to RandallNorth and the numbered corporations, have not been returned. Out of eleven emailed questions, pertaining to both properties sent to RandallNorth from The Northern View, only four were answered for Pinecrest alone.
“Renovations are planned to start in July 2020. A rough estimation for renovations duration is roughly 8-12 months, but could take a bit longer. Rents for the site have not yet been set; they will be set out at the time of completion, and upgrades are extensive and will include interior and exterior work,” the statement said.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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