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Letter: Burnaby moving too slow on allowing laneway houses. We need action

Reader says adding new forms of density should have happened a decade ago
Modular units create a My Lane Home laneway house in Vancouver. (via My Lane Homes)


Re: Burnaby moves forward on allowing residents to build laneway houses, NOW News

I have sat on the HOMES citizen group during Covid. I'm a proponent of adding Additional Density Units (ADU) in single family's zoned neighborhoods. I also appreciate the hard work of the good Honorable Mayor Mike Hurley and Councillor Joe Keithley on this most important initiative.

This and all of the recommendations put forward by the council's working group that was commissioned shortly after Mayor Hurley took office need to be implemented yesterday.

Burnaby's ten-year action plan is in fact 10 years of studies that duplicate multiple studies that have been commissioned by various cities, CHMC, BC Housing and the GVRD for the past four decades.

The time for action is now.

The fact that Burnaby citizens are going to wait four to five more years before they can apply for a permit for additional density is preposterous. We need to think outside the box. Climate change initiatives need to be accounted for in the decision making process. If a homeowner is willing to upgrade an older home to current net zero status, they should be moved to the front of the line when permits are given out for laneways.

Speculators should be required to pay a development fee if they sell the home that has received ADU permits from the city within a given time period, say ten years. Interest-free loans, funded by the city, for deep retrofit insulation and or energy advisor recommended improvements should be attached to the home not the person, and offered to anyone in a single family zoned home that is willing to sign a contract allowing the ADU (rental suit or suits to be utilized for a community benefit. 

Your story fails to take Burnaby to task. We are the only community in the Lower Mainland that hasn't embraced ADU in single family zoning. It's taken four years for the councils first study to make its way to you attention. That study has now been put to tender on BC bid to have a third party analyze and make further recommendations (timeline for completion two years) after this next study is done the proposal will go the council's parking commission were the successful bidder may get an opportunity to work on the report with the parking commission or Burnaby may put out another RFO on BC bid to find another consultant to finish the parking portion of the report.

I think you should be leery of utilizing words like "action or quick" in stories describing City of Burnaby initiatives. All the communities in our province are facing the same housing affordability issues. I've read the reports. Burnaby is no different than New Westminster, Vancouver, Coquitlam, other than they made these zoning changes years ago and have flexible zoning rules that allow suits and laneways.

Unfortunately for the citizens of Burnaby, our former mayor of 20 years Derek Corrigan and his affiliated councillors (many of whom still sit on the current council) refused to make any changes in regards to ADU's. Let’s not let the current leaders hold us back. This problem is decades old. Every day of inaction is a day too many.

Clark Campbell, Burnaby