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This Burnaby developer doesn’t want to build more parking. Here's why

"The single-occupancy vehicle is going the way of the dodo bird," says a developer of a forthcoming tower project on North Road in Burnaby.
A developer came to Burnaby city councillors with numbers on what it means to reduce parking in new tower projects.

As Burnaby seeks to reduce the amount of parking built in the city, one developer with a major tower project offered a look at the numbers behind building parking stalls.

Bryce Margetts, senior vice-president of Canderel, presented to Burnaby's planning and development committee last month with data on an in-development project at 3965 North Rd.

Margetts supported the city reducing its parking minimum requirements and said it would be helpful to give a "real-world example" of the reductions under review.

Many municipalities have bylaws that require developers to build a minimum number of parking spaces per residential unit.

Some throughout North America have recently begun reducing or eliminating their parking minimums as a response to new modes of transportation and to meet climate targets.

"Parking ratios are falling dramatically — the single-occupancy vehicle is going the way of the dodo bird," Margetts said at the committee.

"That is an absolute fact. We do not need all of this parking."

Margetts said the Canderel project at North Road, a four-minute walk from Lougheed SkyTrain station, is currently mandated to have 11 levels of underground parking.

But Margetts said Canderel is considering eliminating 472 parking stalls, which would be five levels of underground parking.

Margetts said the reduction would come with a variety of environmental benefits, such as eliminating:

  • 1,791 tonnes of steel
  • 11,415 cubic metres of concrete (1,425 fewer concrete trucks)
  • 67,655 cubic metres of soil not excavated (5,700 fewer dump truck loads)

Margetts said this would translate into reducing the embodied carbon of materials by:

  • 2,700 to 5,400 tonnes of CO2 for steel
  • 19,200 to 24,700 tonnes of CO2 for concrete

He said this would be the equivalent of removing 4,760 to 6,450 cars per year and added it would mean 472 fewer cars, which would remove "2,171 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the use of gasoline-powered vehicles per year."

It would also reduce the time it takes to build the tower by a year, Margetts said.

He said condo prices would be reduced by $30,000 to $40,000 with no parking stall, as the developer sells parking separately from the condo units.

Further, parking stalls become more expensive to build the deeper you dig for underground, Margetts said.

"Let the purchaser decide," Margetts said.

The North Road project will include a "full transportation lounge," according to Margetts, with 10 electric car-share vehicles, 88 e-bikes, and a "transportation wallet" for TransLink and carshare passes.

Margetts also gave two examples of condo projects in Toronto and Montreal that were unable to sell all their parking stalls with parking ratios lower than Burnaby is currently considering.

"I'm not sure that I can accept everything you're saying, but I will ask staff to analyze it and then come back to us," said Coun. Pietro Calendino.

Burnaby staff are currently in the process of drafting a new parking minimum policy, which is expected to come to council in the fall of this year.

The first draft of the policy was rejected by the planning committee in July, as it would have charged developers with a $50,000 fee per stall not built.