Mayor Kennedy Stewart seems happy to shake hands with the devil

No official support from the Mayor! Mayor’s chief of staff said she would not recommend a letter of support.

“A deal is a deal and should be honoured. Tenant relocation policies should be clear, and followed through on, not weakened because of one parties use of ambiguity. And if deals are broken there need to be consequences.”

MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert, February 5, 2020

I am wondering how many Vancouverites are questioning how Mayor Kennedy Stewart is supporting the Vancouver renter? Did you vote for Mayor Kennedy Stewart? I did. Did you get what you were voting for? Did you get the renters champion or Vancouver housing crisis support you were voting for? Mayor Kennedy Stewart why does your Chief of Staff not want to support us?

I know the mayor keeps touting his stance on renters’ rights and affordable housing. But the reality on the ground is he plays hide and seek with the stakeholders unless that is your a Vancouver Property Developer. I have been talking to many of those stakeholders as we get assistance to fight for our homes. From labour unions to legal advocates there is a general disappointment in Mayor Kennedy Stewart especially on his impact on the Vancouver housing crisis.

Personally I have called and tried to reach out over a dozen times. It’s not like he hasn’t seen the news or that he doesn’t know who I am. Our struggle to get Reliance Properties Vancouver to honour our agreement has been very public. Tuesday, February 4th we held a press conference on the steps of city hall. This was deemed necessary because city staff decided to remove the hold on the occupancy permit for 1188 Bidwell. Declaring that Reliance had met an interpretation of the TRP.

The press conference didn’t just get us some media attention. It got us a meeting with the mayors chief of staff (internal) Anita Zaebker. That represented the highest level city hall authority we had yet managed direct contact. We had a constructive conversation and we got to plead our case for clemency. We were able to try and make a case that the mayor could do something to get Reliance Properties to honour the agreement. To take some responsibility for the debacle this TRP has become given the fact that the city did approve it and issue permits based on it. We asked for at least a statement of support from the city. Something that would say what they tell to us at every call, meeting, and email. Something that backed our interpretation of the language and was disappointed that Reliance had violated at least the spirit of the agreement.

Today I was lucky enough to get a phone call from the chief of staff (internal) Anita Zaebker. Sadly we could not seem to find agreement on anything. We are not going to get the statement of support from the mayor. I keep hearing that the mayor is working for us and that he is trying to facilitate some kind of a deal that will see us get something we can accept. However when we ask what the result of this help is we hear nothing that is actionable. We get nothing that feels like reassurance this is getting sorted out and that city will prevail with the implementation of a TRP they approved and gave permits based on. You know basic city governance, implement the agreements you signed off on. Mayor Kennedy Stewart why does your Chief of Staff not want to support us?

The city keeps asking us to seed ground. They say to us in person and in email and on the phone that they support and share our interpretation of the agreement. They tell us that this TRP is not being implemented by Reliance Properties Vancouver as the city had intended or understood it would be. With that said they also say that the hold would be removed on the occupancy permit because Reliance had met some ambiguous interpretation. The city seems scared of something so they refuse to publicly back what they say to us in person. It is disheartening, to say the least. It’s that feeling like that feeling you get when you suspect you’re being cheated on.

I wanna be wrong but then I look at the mayors track record of impact on renovictions and demovictions and I don’t feel inspired. I hear the advice of city management staff and I feel let down. We don’t want to be coached that we need to give up on getting the TRP implemented as the city had originally intended for it to be.

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