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Top Burnaby news stories of 2022 No. 6: Development in the city

Burnaby could see the tallest tower in Western Canada built — and maybe even 'tiny' studio units under 350 sq. ft.
Pinnacle International Austin Gatineau
A rendering of the developments at Austin Road and Gatineau Street in Burnaby, including an 80-storey tower that would be the tallest in B.C.

As 2022 draws to a close, we’re looking back at the top 10 Burnaby news stories of the year. 

Yesterday, we spotlighted a story about of an emotional end to a standoff at a SkyTrain station, which captured the imagination of many readers.

Today, we recap the year’s number No. 6 story with a look at our coverage of rapid development in Burnaby.

Building, building, building in Burnaby 

Highrise towers, condos, demovictions, renters and unit sizes – for years now, development has been a major sticking point in Burnaby. Here’s a rundown of some of our most-read development stories.

2022 was a busy year for the city’s planning department which has seen the approval of two urban villages in the Bainbridge and Lochdale neighbourhoods.

The urban villages are intended to “(bridge) the gap” between larger town centres like Metrotown and Brentwood and smaller-scale residential neighbourhoods.

The villages will see towers up to 25 storeys in some areas. The plans saw some opposition by residents in the Bainbridge area but were approved unanimously by council in July.

Individual projects have also garnered attention – particularly the 80-storey tower and 73-storey tower proposed for development beside Lougheed SkyTrain station at 9850 Austin Rd., 9858 Gatineau Pl. and 9898 Gatineau Pl.

The two towers, totalling 1,466 market strata units, at 259 metres and 238.5 m respectively would be the tallest in Western Canada.

The project was opposed by now-retired councillor Colleen Jordan, and residents at public hearing, as the developer (which would usually be required to incorporate rental units in the towers) plans to demolish a rental building at 3846 Carrigan Crt. across Lougheed Highway and build a new tower with the rental units included on that lot. The development has a few more hoops to jump through before final approval.

Two separate Metrotown developments have also drawn criticism: a massive five-tower development at 4750 Kingsway includes 58 tiny non-market rental units, less than 350 square feet in size.

Mayor Mike Hurley and Coun. Joe Keithley voted against the project, which has yet to go to final approval. Keithley said, “It’s like living your entire existence in a super tiny hotel room.”

Just blocks away at 6031 Wilson Ave., a development with what a resident called a “poor door” and “segregated amenities” is nearing approval. The project has two separate entrances for strata condo owners and renters and has separated amenities for renters and owners.

Meanwhile, the Brentwood area saw four master plans approved with little fanfare, though the plans account for about 8,100 new housing units. Grosvenor Brentwood, South Yards, Bassano and Brentwood West will bring 19 highrise towers between 30 and 64 storeys to the area.

What will next year bring? With a pro-development council elected, it’s likely more towers and more housing will be approved. Council’s planning and development committee recently heard a report on a master plan for Plaza 5000 Metrotown, with three towers about 50 storeys high and that’s just the start.