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Brentwood plan does nothing for families

Dear Editor: Re: Skyscraper stirs debate, Burnaby NOW, Feb. 28. In fairness to the mayor and as a regular pedestrian and cyclist, I am excited about the mayor's suggestion "to build a bike and pedestrian path ...

Dear Editor:

Re: Skyscraper stirs debate, Burnaby NOW,  Feb. 28.

In fairness to the mayor and as a regular pedestrian and cyclist, I am excited about the mayor's  suggestion "to build a bike and pedestrian path ... to connect the Heights with Brentwood."

A safe bike and pedestrian route  along Willingdon is long overdue.

On the other hand, it will be interesting to see how well Confederation Park and the pool absorb the additional clientele.

And, while I will agree with the former CEO and president of the Burnaby Board of Trade that  "rental stock is very much needed"  and is indeed "a part of this particular development," I wonder how affordable it will be in any of the proposed towers.

For example, a fourth-floor, 1257-square-foot apartment at the Jewel II in Metrotown can be purchased for $898,000. I don't know about Ms. Gering, but such a home is certainly "out of reach" for my dual income family of four.

I also agree "single  detached housing ... is out of reach for  young families," but so is the average three-bedroom apartment in a town centre.

An additional challenge for families with children is a preference investor landlords have for student renters, who are usually willing to pay more  and are shorter term.

Shape's proposal will do nothing for young families in the area.

The city has the resources to create affordable rental housing close to SkyTrain, but it doesn't have a plan or the will to make it happen.

Make no mistake about it. The bylaw amendment allowing for these 50 to 70 storey towers popping up around the city," s-zoning," is about self-interest.

The city and highrise developers can "green-wash" it all they want with cycle paths, electric charging stations and free transit passes. Or scare us with talk of doing something for Burnaby's portion of the 40,000 newcomers coming to the province every year, or of dealing with the expected incoming of 30,000 people over the next 20 years. The bottom line is that more floors equals more profits to developers and more taxes to the city to keep their unsustainable vision alive.

Rick McGowan, Burnaby

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