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'Inevitable decimation': Burnaby residents petition against B.C.'s transit-oriented housing rules

'Save Brentwood Park' petition seeks municipal support for exemptions from transit-oriented development rules.

A group of concerned residents living in Burnaby’s Brentwood Park neighbourhood have filed a petition to be exempted from the province’s new legislation on transit-oriented development.

The rules will require cities, including Burnaby, to allow buildings with minimum heights of eight to 12 storeys within a ring 400 to 800 metres circling transit hubs like SkyTrain stations.

But Save Brentwood Park petition leader Edward Pereira said the law exposes his neighbourhood of single-family homes “to its inevitable decimation.”

Pereira said the coalition believes the 104 transit-oriented rings identified by the province deserve “bespoke application of the legislation” that considers local differences.

“We would like the municipality’s mayor and council support in requesting an exemption of 1/4 of the Brentwood Town Centre (Transit Oriented Development Area) ring that has been indiscriminately superimposed over 75 per cent of our neighbourhood,” states the petition, which was officially signed with 298 names.

A map of the Brentwood Town Centre transit-oriented development area in Burnaby. By Province of B.C.

The petitioners want the city to support the Save Brentwood Park coalition's goal to “reinstate” municipal decision making to be more flexible in allowing exemptions to the transit-oriented areas, according to a second letter submitted by Pereira.

He said it could be the difference between “a failed town centre and a healthy one.”

The province’s legislation is supposed to fast-track development and remove “restrictive zoning bylaws” that the province says has slowed down building much needed housing.

But Pereira said the ring around Brentwood SkyTrain station is an “outlier” in B.C., as the town centre has already been rapidly densifying.

He noted Brentwood Park, located in concentric streets radiating north of Brentwood mall, has been known for its “decades of low crime, neighbourliness and community wellness.”

Pereira said land assemblers have already been “circling like vultures, knocking on doors and sending us junk mail,” he wrote in the letter.

The Save Brentwood Park group is not opposed to the new small-scale multi-use home regulations that will allow up to six units on previously single-family lots.

Burnaby’s CAO Leon Gous has previously criticized the province for the one-size-fits-all approach of the legislation. Mayor Mike Hurley has also repeatedly expressed his opposition to the changes.

Council will receive the Save Brentwood Park petition at its meeting April 29.

Transit-oriented areas in Burnaby:

  • Brentwood Town Centre SkyTrain station
  • Lougheed Town Centre SkyTrain station
  • Metrotown SkyTrain station
  • Patterson SkyTrain station
  • Sperling-Burnaby Lake SkyTrain station
  • Edmonds SkyTrain station
  • Gilmore SkyTrain station
  • Holdom SkyTrain station
  • Lake City Way SkyTrain station
  • Production Way-University SkyTrain station
  • Royal Oak SkyTrain station

Transit-oriented areas in municipalities bordering Burnaby:

  • Burquitlam SkyTrain station (City of Coquitlam)
  • Joyce-Collingwood SkyTrain station (City of Vancouver)
  • Rupert SkyTrain station (City of Vancouver)