BCRTA Heritage – Housing

The early days of the Retired Teachers began in Victoria and Vancouver with the two groups of retirees meeting before W.W.II as a part of the BCTF. Eventually they formed their own registered Association. The Retired Teachers Pension Action group came into existence in 1942. The major interests concerned retirees pensions, cost of living and housing.

The Retired Teachers Association of BC became a registered group under the Provincial Act, in May 1955 and was incorporated under the Society Act of BC. By 1956 the RTA had about 1,100 members.

The housing needs of retirees on limited pensions was a grave concern. The President of the Federation, Mr. R. R. Smith, suggested that the retired teachers association should invest their money in Real Estate in Vancouver. This was done successfully, through Mr. Smiths’ real estate knowledge with the co-operation of the Finance and Advisory Committee. The BCTF was also helpful with financing, and was repaid by the retirees. Mr. R. R. Smith spoke about action taken to secure relief for some of the hardships suffered by retired teachers concerned about their housing costs.

At the 1952 BCTF AGM, the Retired Teachers Section had a panel discussion on Housing for Retired Teachers. Dr. Black served as chairman. Mr. Fred Turner described the housing plans for Senior Citizens at present being instituted by the United Church of Canada. Mr. R. R. Smith, President of the Federation, discussed a co-operative Housing Scheme which might be worked out to the advantage of retired teachers on low income. Those interested were asked to write their names and addresses on a slip of paper and hand them in to the secretary at the meeting.

At the 1952 AGM it was moved by Mr. Connor, seconded by Mr. Caulfield that Dr. Black, Mr. G. F. Turner and Mr. R. R. Smith, President of the Federation, become a committee to study the feasibility of a Housing Scheme for Retired Teachers.

This Committee was to report the result of its investigation to the Executive for consideration. Mr. Smith consented to write an article on the subject for the BCTF.

BC Retired Teachers at the BCTF AGM 1953

A meeting of the BC Retired Teachers Section of the BC Teachers’ Federation was held at John Oliver High School at 9:30 am on April 7th, 1953. Mr. Armstrong told the meeting of the purchase of property in Burnaby for a Housing Scheme for Retired Teachers and showed a map of the property.
Mr. Fred Turner spoke on the United Church scheme for Senior Citizens which is proving very successful. Mr. R. R. Smith addressed the retired teachers about the Housing project and described the types of buildings which could be developed on the property.

Since the property in Burnaby had been purchased through the BCTF Federation no further action could be taken until the matter had been discussed at the general meeting.

The annual meeting gave the retired teachers a year in which to show progress in the development of the property. If after a year no progress had been made the property was to be sold by the Federation. In May 1955 the senior executive officers of the BC Retired Teachers officially registered their Association.

Accounts, Retired Teachers’ Housing Project 1954

A. Account with BCTF

Paid by BCTF: purchase of Victory Heights Property$12,750.00
Miscellaneous (architect’s fees, taxes, interest, surveyor’s fees, etc.$1,197.60
Total$13,947.60
Fully refunded by RTA to BCTF$13,847.60

B. Statement re: Victory Heights Property:

Anticipated gross revenue from sale of land$27,175.00
Charges: Purchase Price ( $12,750.00 less refund re services $1,395.62) Total Net purchase price$11,354.38
Architect’s fees$490.00
Taxes$340.22
Clearing$1,655.00
Registration fees$24.00
Total$13,863.60
Anticipated profit from sale of land $13,311.40

C. Statement re: Smith Avenue Property

Total cost -land purchased from Joshua H. Mayer August, 1954$19,000
Charges: Proportion of water rates, taxes, fire insurance, legal fees$226.98
Interest$300.00
Total expenditures$19, 526.98

Having bought the Smith Avenue property, the Retired Teachers Trust Fund indicated donations by Active and Retired Teachers, also donation and a loan from a retired teacher, so that the property could be bought, leaving a balance on hand in December15, 1954 of $153.58.

Having sold the Victory Heights lots with a substantial profit, the more expensive Smith Avenue property was purchased. Both active and retired teachers contributed to the funds to purchase the properties, with total pledges of $7,431.58.

Assets: Smith Avenue property at cost: $19,526.98

Money receivable from cash sale of Victory Heights lots: $13,311.40

Retired Teachers’ Housing Committee Statement of Receipts and Expenditures Dec 15, 1954

Minutes of the BCRTA AGM 1959

Mr. Smith’s report on the Investment situation stated the various investments made on behalf of the Retired Teachers’ Association, including Victory Heights, Smith Avenue, Shaughnessy Residential Club and the West 7th Avenue property.

The West 7th Avenue, Vancouver report-the properties at 1865, 1875, and 1885 West 7 Avenue had been purchased, giving a frontage of 150 feet on West 7 Avenue. The plans call for 32 suites: including 21 Bachelor suites and 11 one-bedroom suites. Tenders will be called during week of early April. Operations should commence about May 1, and completion by end of five months. Moved by Mr. Hill, seconded by Miss Dauphinee for plans to be accepted as read. Carried. Mr. Woodhead spoke in appreciation of Mr. R. R. Smith’s great assistance to the Retired Teachers in this housing project.

In the early years of the Retired Teachers Association, the Finance and Advisory Committee were working with Mr. Willway and his Victoria Committee, as well as Alan Spragge of the BCTF giving his assistance, too.

However in 1967, the Finance and Advisory Committee advised Mr. Graham Bruce and his RTA Executive to sell the Shaughnessy Residential Lodge for retired single teachers on West 41st Avenue. It was costing the RTA $1,600 to maintain over and above the income from the tenants.

These early documents of our BCRTA history indicate concerns about housing, and efforts to build accommodation for retired teachers, taken from the original sources of hand written or typed notes.

Barb Mikulec
Heritage Committee