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Yaletown residents sue Vancouver

By Brett Mineer

Artist rendering of Yaletown development.

Artist rendering of Yaletown development.

The B.C. Supreme Court is scheduled to begin four days of hearings Monday into Yaletown residents’ allegations the City of Vancouver made a “secret deal” with a highrise developer.

The Community Association of New Yaletown wants to quash a land-swap contract between the city and Brenhill Development Ltd., and subsequent re-zoning.

As part of the land swap, the developer traded land it owned at 1099 Richards St. for land owned by the city at 508 Helmcken St., which the developer sought to turn into a 36-storey residential tower.

CANY’s lawyer Nathalie Baker says the land swap deal wasn’t mentioned during public hearings into the re-zoning.

“It’s not just the land exchange contract,” Baker said. “There’s a number of different contracts. There’s a complete development agreement for 1099 Richards, there’s a lease surrender with the social housing, there’s all these decisions that were made in advance of the public hearing.”

A spokesman for the mayor’s office declined to comment, citing the matter is before the courts.

The city’s response filed in court notes that as part of the agreement to develop 508 Helmcken, the developer agreed to replace 87 units of existing social housing at Jubilee House on 1099 Richards, and provide an additional 75 non-market units.

The city also argues the land contract was voted on and approved by a majority of city council in October 2012, with the details made available to the public in a report released in June 2013.

Baker says the additional 75 units are not social housing, but rather market rate micro-units. She says Brenhill paid development cost levies on the units, a fee the city normally waves for social housing units.


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