Legion tower has new owner

Jim MacDonald says the legion got the best deal possible. - News file photo
Jim MacDonald says the legion got the best deal possible.
— image credit: News file photo

The residents of Legion Towers on 224th Street have a new landlord and Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 88 has some money in its pockets.

However, who the landlord is and how much the building sold for is under wraps, for a while at least.

The building sold on Feb. 8, said resident Bob Kerfoot. He disagrees with the sale and wonders about being able to remain as a resident there in the years ahead under new ownership.

The legion will update residents Sunday afternoon after first informing a general meeting of legion members of the ownership change.

“It’s something that needed to be done and we’ve got the best deal possible,” said legion spokesman Jim MacDonald.

“They’re well protected for a number of years. They’ll get all the details Sunday,” he said of the tower residents.

“There will be no major changes, drastic rent increases or evictions when the property changes hands,” he said in a news release.

MacDonald said there will be no evictions and no increases in rent (above what is allowed by the province) for a period of between five and 10 years.

He added later that includes an arrangement between B.C. Housing and the new purchaser on rent subsidies paid on behalf of tenants.

Kerfoot, though, wonders why the legion would sell the most profitable of its five buildings.

The branch got membership approval to sell the property last year and use the proceeds to pay for repairs to its other buildings.

The 12-storey Legion Towers was built more than 40 years ago and was originally intended as housing for aging veterans. Currently, it offers subsidized low-cost seniors housing; membership in the legion isn’t required.

Kerfoot says Sunday’s meeting is a waste of time because the sale is done, closing on May 9.

“Unless there’s a representative there from the purchaser to answer questions, what’s the point of the meeting? The legion can tell you what they’ve been told, and that’s all.”

He questioned the period for which tenants are guaranteed their rents.

“Five to 10 years? What are they hoping, everybody dies within 10 years? I don’t know. I really don’t know.

“I will never agree with the sale of this building.”

Kerfoot said the legion owns five other buildings, clear title. “There could have been another way to do it other than sell the only building that makes them money.”

Kerfoot has lived in the building for 13 years and pays $557 monthly for a two-bedroom suite, utilities included.

He’s currently receiving a B.C. Housing subsidy and could get more assistance to help with any future rent increases.

“I can’t see right now, at this moment, where I’m going to be hurt.”

But what if the new owner wants to renovate the suites? Does that mean evicting people, he asked.

“I don’t want to move after 13 years, everything is pretty well settled here at 77 years old. I want to go out of here feet first and I’ll do anything I can to hang on to that.”

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