Holland College residence would displace 'extremely vulnerable' tenants

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Holland College residence would displace 'extremely vulnerable' tenants

A proposed Holland College residence in Charlottetown would raze seven buildings containing accessible, affordable housing, a public meeting heard Tuesday night.

Marcia Carroll, who lives in the neighbourhood, said the city needs to plan for the loss of that housing.

"As a community we need to come together and figure out these solutions before we move forward," said Carroll.

"How do we support an institution that wants to grow and be vital to our community and help it move forward without affecting the most vulnerable people in our society? The people in these seven buildings are extremely vulnerable."

Carroll stressed she supports the development and expansion of the school, but is concerned about the lack of planning for what is being lost.

Madan Giri, who lives in one of the properties up for conversion, expressed concern about the short notice.

"Two months time is not enough for the tenants to find a suitable place to move in," said Giri.

New residence plan

The college plan is for a four-storey building with 81 beds. It has also secured a 10-year lease on part of the Charlottetown Event Grounds for 30 additional parking spaces as required by the city.

Representatives of Holland College also said Tuesday, once purchased and acquired, it would forgo the collection of rent during the remainder of residents' tenancy. 

However, some tenants said they feel like that's not enough provided support for what they are losing.

​"The tenants, those who are living in Bassett properties, are asking to be compensated for what they are losing, help lining up the places to move...that are similar to what we have now, same cost and same location," said Giri.

School will work with tenants

But Michael O'Grady, vice-president of innovation, enterprise and strategic development at Holland College, said some of the requests from tenants seemed misplaced.

"The solution that these residents are looking for are beyond the scope of this project," said O'Grady.

"We are proceeding in, I believe, a responsible way and we're following the processes that have been established by our city council and by our province." 

But O'Grady added the school plans to work with the current tenants, both residential and commercial, to find alternative housing.

"We've heard all of the comments and can assure they did not fall on deaf ears," he said.

City council is expected to make a decision April 28.

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