After more than 10 years of living in a close-knit community, one family may have to pack up and go because of a proposed pathway.
In a South Burnaby neighbourhood near Chaffey-Burke Elementary School, the city has developed a pathway concept between two city-owned properties - one on Halley Avenue and one on Chaffey Avenue. The two properties could be sold and subdivided to make way for the lit path and a future two-family development, according to a report from city staff.
The pedestrian and bike friendly path is to link the two streets and help students get to school more conveniently.
Although the family who is renting out the Halley Ave. home did not wish to comment to the NOW, locals voiced their concerns.
"While we approve of the design proposed, we feel it should be implemented at a later date when (the tenants) feel they are unable to reside at (the home)," said Rick McGowan, a neighbour to the family for the past 12 years. "We also believe there are higher priority needs that should move forward ahead of this project, namely a crosswalk on Chaffey and Sardis, and a sidewalk on the east side of Chaffey between Grange and Sardis.
"I'm a bit conflicted over this because I want a safer bike route to the school, but the path needs to be part of a bigger plan for safer bike routes in the area."
McGowan, who is also the Green party candidate for the area, has submitted a proposal to the city on behalf of his group, the Metrotown Area Green Improvement Coalition. The proposal outlines the need for a community garden, composting sites and for the city not to sell the disputed land, as it could be valuable for future development of affordable housing units.
"The affordable housing provided by these two city-owned lots has contributed to the completeness of our community," McGowan states in the coalition's proposal. "I do not know what my neighbours pay in rent, but my family and I have benefitted from their presence in the community."
Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said the city sometimes helps tenants relocate to another city-owned home, but ultimately they're not in the business of being a landlord.
"Everybody who moves in a house owned by the city knows it's temporary," Corrigan said. "The rent, policy and information reflect it. It's not a long-term rental."
Last week, the city hosted an open house at the elementary school to share information and receive feedback from residents. In attendance were city staff, an RCMP officer and Coun. Colleen Jordan.
Jordan said residents have come to her and asked if the path is really necessary for the area. She also echoed Corrigan's stance on city-owned rental properties being temporary.
Residents can still submit concerns and suggestions regarding the proposed path for city staff consideration by Feb. 28. A staff report on the issue is expected in March.
To contact the city regarding the plan, email email@example.com, or send letters to 4949 Canada Way, Burnaby, B.C., V5G 1M2.