Highrise causes concern

A resident in the Metrotown neighbourhood is concerned about a proposed highrise near the Maywood Community School.

Laura Ballon does not think the location of the proposed 32-storey highrise was well thought out by the city.

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"I have no problem with other developments that don't back onto a school," she said in a phone interview.

Ballon submitted a letter to Burnaby council and the city's board of variance on the issue on Sept. 8.

The property at 6634 and 6638 Dow Ave. is up for rezoning, which will go to a public hearing on Sept. 20. The proposed Dow Avenue Tower would consist of a 33-storey highrise above three storeys of residential townhouses, with a total of 253 units.

"It's a recipe for disaster," said Ballon, saying the worst part of the plan is bringing increased traffic into the area around the school. The school backs onto the laneway across from the site.

There is a daycare centre nearby that would also be affected, she said.

The city did take the school's location into consideration, according to a report from the director of planning and building Basil Luksun.

Commercial space on the ground floor was not included in the developer's plans partially because of the nearby school, the report said,

The development will provide an extension of Beresford Street as a statutory rightof-way to connect with the school, providing limited circulation and access to the benefit of the school, the report added.

Ballon is also concerned about the lot size of the proposed development, which is 45,540 square feet, according to the report.

Ballon thinks the lot size is much too small for such a tower.

"It's three small lots, side by side by side," she said. "It doesn't make sense."

Another issue for Ballon is parking in the neighbourhood, as people in the tower will likely need two parking spaces and may not be willing to pay for an extra space in the building's underground parking.

The developer is required by the city to put in 334 parking stalls, as well as bicycle storage lockers and racks.

Ballon also says the development goes against Burnaby's own social sustainability strategy.

"The development does not 'enhance our neighbourhood' and reduces the 'livability,'" she wrote in her letter to the city.

She pointed out there are many other residential tower developments planned for the area.

Burnaby Green Party candidate Rick McGowan, in a recent interview concerning development in Metrotown, said areas around schools are not ideal for highrise developments.

"I think maybe towers aren't appropriate in some neighbourhoods that are currently mainly single and two-storey lots," he said.

Low-rise stacked housing would be a better idea for improving density in such neighbourhoods, McGowan added.

'They're a little more family-oriented than a highrise," he said.

Mayor Derek Corrigan could not be reached for comment on the proposed development.

The proposal for rezoning of the development site is slated to go to a public hearing on Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. in the council chamber at city hall.

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