Demolition in Vancouver on the rise

An Oakridge house faces the wrath of demolition. (Ashley Legassic)
An Oakridge house faces the wrath of demolition. (Ashley Legassic)

In her battle against residential demolition in Vancouver, Caroline Adderson has gathered more than 3,000 supporters over the last three years.

Vancouver Vanishes

Adderson founded Vancouver Vanishes, a Facebook group focused on preventing demolition of heritage homes in Vancouver. Adderson has started a petition to stop these demolitions of character homes and the petition has 2,349 supporters so far.

Members post pictures of homes that are either demolished, or in the process of

Caroline Adderson, founder of Vancouver Vanishes. (Erich Saide)
Caroline Adderson, founder of Vancouver Vanishes. (Erich Saide)

demolition, to raise awareness of this ongoing issue.

B.C. Green Party leader and Vancouver City Councillor Adriane Carr is one of the few city council members who support Adderson’s group.

“I think they’re bang-on with their views of this issue,” said Carr.

Residential demolition, especially that of heritage homes, has risen recently in Vancouver, with “more than 750 homes demolished annually,” according to Vancouver Vanishes’ online petition.

Adderson decided to create the group when she noticed demolition going on in her neighbourhood.

Demolition uprise

“Practically every house that was up for sale would later be torn down,” said Adderson. “These houses are bought for $2 million and they’re torn down and then a new house is built that’s on sale for $4 million.”

Before she started the group, Adderson decided to take pictures and send them to city councillors.

A house in the Oakridge area which has recently been put up for demolition. (Ashley Legassic)
A house in the Oakridge area which has recently been put up for demolition. (Ashley Legassic)

“They were elected on a green mandate, so [I thought] surely they’d be appalled about this, but I found out they were not interested in this issue,” said Adderson.

Although the environmental repercussions affect the views people have on demolition, Absolute Demos & Renos prides itself on being environmentally friendly.

Part of its Environmental Sustainability Policy and Law includes using recycled and recyclable materials, protecting natural habitats, and not utilizing environmentally damaging substances, materials and processes.

A Vancouver Heritage Foundation survey found 96 per cent of Vancouverites think it’s necessary to preserve heritage homes in the city.

One of the issues Adderson finds with demolitions is not only the destruction of houses, but the deterioration of her inspiration.

“I’m a fiction writer and when I see an old house I see stories. Everyone who lives in there leaves their stories behind. Tear down the house and you eliminate the stories,” said Adderson.

The Vancouver Heritage Foundation states Vancouver is “clearly a city that appreciates its heritage,” and Carr agrees.

“These character homes add something unique to Vancouver, but they’re getting demolished in order to build what are called ‘monster homes,’” said Carr.

These include townhouse complexes and large homes meant to house multiple families, which include duplexes and small and large apartments, and residents feel very strongly about it.


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