“He (Mayor Walton) was ruling my motion out of order. I wanted it to be part of the record for the public hearing, and he and the clerk ruled that a follow up motion was out of order and I disagreed. I was just asking for information and I think the Mayor could have heard it, but I guess he didn’t want to hear it.”
A few weeks ago, Councillors Lisa Muri’s voice was quelched by rules around procedures. She persisted and finally had her, if not the last word, on the role local government is supposed to play when people come knocking on its doors with fear and anxiety about displacement and loss of community.
As the council gave first reading to Emery Place rezoning and sent it to public hearing, an upset Lisa Muri brought forward a motion asking council to discuss the possibility of modular housing in Maplewood. She wasn’t allowed to speak, which made her lost her cool and she yelled: “We are just trying to find solutions for these people. Why do you not want to try to find solutions for people that are being displaced, Mayor Walton?”
“He was ruling my motion out of order. I wanted it to be part of the record for the public hearing, and he and the clerk ruled that a follow up motion was out of order and I disagreed. I was just asking for information and I think the Mayor could have heard it, but I guess he didn’t want to hear it,” she later told the Global Canadian.
Muri said there was an opportunity for Mosaic, who is rebuilding Emery Place, and another developer, Darwin properties to work together to create modular housing on land owned by the latter. Muri said she asked Mosaic if they would be interested in partnering with Darwin to build modular housing and they agreed. She said Darwin, too, seemed supportive of the possibility of this partnership.
But when she met Mosaic later, they told there wasn’t a lot of interest from Emery Place residents in the project. The inability of that partnership to move ahead is what got Muri to bring forward a proposal to discuss building modular housing on district-owned land by tax payers’ money.
“The residents will suffer as they will have to find accommodation off the North Shore. The district owned land on Dollartan is flat, is serviced, and has electricity and sewage provision. I’d like the district to fund it with help from BC Housing. Vancouver does it once a month and the modular homes don’t need to be permanent because you could remove them or get rid of them after some time. But it would allow people to stay in the North Shore,” she said.
Her proposal, however was rejected 4-3 at the council chamber, with Mayor Richard Walton, Councillors Robin Hicks, Matthew Bond, and Roger Bassam opposed. Councillor Bond said district has a progressive rental assistance policy and was investing $12 million in affordable housing. Hinting at Emery Place, he said most renters gets two months’ notice, not six months’ notice, and that most renters receive only one month’s compensation and no compensation for moving.
Bassam said Muri had opposed several motions in the past that could have results in more rentals and said the district can’t afford to spend millions of dollars on modular housing. Councillor Hicks said the market dictates life in a capitalistic society, and redevelopment will inevitably cause some displacement, but the district has invested in initiatives such as Delbrook and is committed to an OCP-sanctioned plan for Maplewood.
He said the pace of development in North Shore is slower than most other Lower Mainland communities and there is less traffic in the area compared to other cities. “I was in Port Coquitlam and Pitt Meadows, and the development and traffic situation is far less here than in those jurisdictions,” he said. While rejecting Muri’s motion, the council decided to discuss modular housing in an upcoming workshop.