A couple dozen members of a group pressuring the city to halt development in Metrotown made their way to council Monday night in hopes of an answer to their report and recommendations on the issue.
But it looks like the group will have to wait to find out what the city thinks.
Members of the Stop Demovictions Burnaby campaign were in council to present their study, A Community Under Attack, which looks at the effects of development in the Metrotown area and the displacement of residents from “demovictions.”
The report makes four recommendations including calling for the city to put a moratorium on demolishing apartment buildings, to rehouse the residents displaced by the “demovictions,” to create a new community plan that focuses on current residents most vulnerable to displacement and to dedicate city-owned land to social housing.
Dave Diewert, a member of the group, presented the report, telling council the displacement of residents by development needs immediate action.
“Demoviction is redefining the city of Burnaby’s urban citizenship,” he told council. “For those thrown out of their homes and communities by decisions made in this council chambers, the message is clear, they do not belong.”
City council accepted the study and told the group staff would look at it and come back with a reply at a later date.
Diewert said he was expecting some engagement by city council, suggesting the politicians were dismissing the report.
Mayor Derek Corrigan offered his thoughts on the study after the council meeting.
He called the report fair and said the city will give it “serious consideration” and ask staff to review some of the points made by the group made.
“But we also have duties to deal with the million more people coming into the region and the reality that we have to increase density around transit stations, and that is a very difficult balance to achieve,” he told the NOW.
And when asked about a moratorium on demolitions and approving zoning applications, Corrigan said it wasn’t “realistic.”
He suggested a moratorium would only delay the inevitable and people who move in to the apartments will have the same problem in a few years.
Instead, the mayor said the city is looking for long-term solutions and creating housing affordability that allows people to remain where they live.
Corrigan said the city is creating the densification needed, but acknowledged the new units are unaffordable for people with lower incomes. He argued the city is taking density bonus money to create affordable housing, noting $8.5 million being spent on social housing project at Southgate in Edmonds.
The mayor also called on the federal and provincial government to come up with a national housing strategy.