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Letter: Bad decisions sinking Burnaby council

City council's rethink of organic waste plant was a hopeful sign but recent moves such as the plan to move city hall are big steps backward, reader says.
burnaby city hall
Burnaby council is making one bad decision after another, a reader says. FIle photo


"Out of touch", "tone deaf," "can't read the room" — all of these apply to Burnaby's, ineffective heading toward damaging/disastrous municipal government.

We had calm waters for a short time after the city reversed its decision to build an organic waste facility on Fraser Foreshore Park. But, in a blink of an eye, those waters got choppy. Sav Dhaliwal, in reflecting on the failure of the project and AAP, complained about citizens requesting thousands of ballots at once. How completely deplorable to have residents so committed to preserving parkland that they would give up personal time to go door to door and spare other residents the inconvenience of printing ballots of themselves.

Next, more trouble on the horizon. Apparently, the city owns so much land that it doesn't know what to do with it all. Oh, here's an idea. Why don't we let/invite "for profit" developers build more luxury high-rises on city land? We all know that we need more towers. And, while they don't have all the details yet, I bet they're confident that the city's low-to-middle-income families will find a way to be able to afford those two-bedroom units like Polygon's Perla that are starting at $933,000. On a related, but bit a tangent, "kudos" to our municipal government in beating Vancouver and their Broadway Corridor plan in creating a concrete canyon. This last Monday, I think it was 32 C, I was driving on Lougheed, between Gilmore and Willingdon and was struck by the disappearance of the sun. It was 10 a.m. and as dark as dusk.

But, I digress. The prize for the worst announcement, the one that takes the cake, was the city revealing its plans to build a new city hall in Metrotown! What? Why? When did they decide this? How much will this cost? Where? So many questions and no answers. Our current city hall is in a historical location at Deer Lake by Shadboldt, the art gallery and the museum. It's an attractive and functional building that is centrally located and accessible for all residents of Burnaby. Moving to crowded Metrotown defies logic. The current location is superior in every way. That's when the light bulb went off. Maybe that why they want to move? Maybe there's a plan to develop that part of Deer Lake and build luxury condos there instead? I can picture the marketing images, "Lakefront or Lakeview Living!" If that's what's behind all of this, kill the plan now and appreciate what you already have.

Here's some food for thought, City of Burnaby. If you have hundreds of millions of dollars that you're itching to spend, why not build co-ops and other forms of truly affordable housing on that city land you don't know what to do with. A legacy like that would be far more impressive and meaningful than a shiny new city hall. And, if there's any money left, why don't you use some of it to take the developer, whom you allowed to demovict the residents of 4330 Maywood, to court for reneging on their obligation to manage their housing costs. Also, the city might want to rethink their offer of $13,000 of compensation to those residents. It's the city's fault these people lost their housing. That meagre compensation is a slap in the face.

Dear mayor and councillors, it's time for you to shape up or ship out!

Violeta Colombara                                                                         

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