Is lame duck Coun. Andrea Reimer the co-author of her own misfortune?
Her party, Vision Vancouver, has enjoyed control of Vancouver city hall since 2008. Its three election wins were fuelled heavily by unregulated donations from real estate tycoons who, in turn, benefitted from city council rubber stamps so they could build towers and mansions for rich investors from China. Mayor Gregor Robertson’s party broke its 2008 promise to end street homelessness by 2015, the Olympic city became one of the world’s most-expensive places to live and the rental vacancy rate is a minuscule 0.7%.
At the Nov. 14 city council meeting, Robertson, Reimer and the rest of the Vision majority passed a bylaw to regulate Airbnb and other short-term rentals. Before Reimer voted in favour of the $49-a-year business licence scheme, she revealed that she is looking for a new home.
“I was a bit amazed by how many owners talked about how hard it is to find renters. As someone who has been evicted for the second time in 16 months, just got home yesterday [from the United Nations climate party in Bonn] to get my eviction notice on the table. Because of speculation and flipping, I’ve been evicted 11 times now in the last 20 years,” Reimer told city council.
“There’s lots of us looking for places to live and many of us are quite good tenants. I’m not making a pitch for any of you to offer me your place, but to say it does occur to me there is a gap here in helping landlords find the tenants they need.”
Reimer gave no details about her abode, which she must vacate by February.
But theBreaker can tell you that she lives in a penthouse and the eviction was inevitable.
The 770-square foot “penthouse 1” is in a 12-storey tower in the Norquay Village neighbourhood. The condo was assessed at $599,000, but listed for sale in September at $799,000. The listing was even promoted on the VanFun website, which targets Mainland China real estate investors.
According to the listing, Reimer’s penthouse boasts “stunning panoramic views” in the building developed by Thind Properties. Reimer’s landlord is, according to the property registry, student Michelle Andrea Ko. It is not known what Reimer paid for rent. She did not respond to theBreaker’s interview request.
“This fully air conditioned open plan two bedroom and study and two bathroom offers a large living area,” says the sales shpiel. “Outside, the spacious private 585 square foot convertible patio. Stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops, hardwood floors and spacious windows create an outdoor lifestyle that maximizes spectacular views.”
Reimer revealed earlier this fall that she won’t run for a fourth city council term in 2018.
Reimer isn’t the only Visionista penthouse-dweller. In August 2015, Robertson bought a $1.68 million penthouse overlooking the Haywood Bandstand at Alexander Park near English Bay. It was renovated and featured earlier this year in the high-end Monte Cristo magazine.
Vision donors include tycoons Peter and Bruno Wall (Wall Financial), Ian Gillespie (Westbank Developments) and Terry Hui (Concord Pacific). The party also shared a bagman with the BC Liberal Party: condo marketer Bob Rennie.
Gillespie hosted Robertson for a mysterious Saturday afternoon meeting at the Westbank office in May 2015. Gillespie’s company is behind the controversial “Fight For Beauty” exhibit at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel and has flogged Vancouver condos to buyers at exclusive events around Asia. Robertson went on an unannounced trade mission to Beijing and Shanghai in early September.
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