East Vancouver seniors fear losing their home to redevelopment

More than 64 seniors call Alice Saunders House their home — but there are fears a complete renovation to the low income building would force them out.

“This place, to me, is like a small piece of paradise,” said longtime resident Jim Dailey.

Dailey, 80, has lived at Alice Saunders for 16 years.

The retired horse jockey still spends each day at Hastings Racecourse which is currently a 20-minute ride on his scooter.

“I can’t go anywhere else and have the life I’ve got now, that’s for sure,” he said.

On Saturday, residents held a block party to protest plans to redevelop the building.

“The building is aging, and not only is it aging, but it doesn’t have the adequate accessibility requirements for residents in place,” said Carolina Ibara with Brightside Community Homes Foundation.

The non-profit organization helps seniors in BC get into low income housing.

“This is not a for-profit venture, that is not why we are doing this. We are doing this to improve long term lives of our residents,” Ibara said.

The redevelopment plans are in the very early stages and tenants have not yet been given any notice to end tenancy or to relocate at this time.

Another reason for the planned redevelopment is that the building currently does not have an elevator – but residents like Sam Diana said that is not an issue for them.

“What do we need an elevator for, to go to the moon?” said Diana.

Ibara said everyone living here can come back to a new building for the same rent they pay now and a new building would come with 100 affordable units.

Brightside will also provide a relocation coordinator to help residents find a new place to live.

The company has yet to submit a formal rezoning application to the City of Vancouver.

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