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Letter: Development must reflect Burnaby’s long-term needs

Council faces challenge of reconciling opposition from some current residents with “the obligation to prepare for our future neighbours over the next 30 to 50 years."
A park under construction at the City of Lougheed development in Burnaby, B.C.


Re: Letter to Editor: 'Monstrous' developments are unhealthy for Burnaby.

Further to that letter, what is truly extraordinary about this neighbours’ view is how piecemeal such thinking truly is.

The facts are simple. Burnaby needs to accommodate a fast-growing population and must do so in the most sustainable way possible. And before anyone blames Burnaby council for the concentration of development along west Lougheed, let’s look back some 25 years. The BC NDP government of the day approved construction of the Millennium line, which bookends the Buchanan West MasterPlan area.

In the absence of this intergenerational rapid transit investment, Lougheed would now need to be much wider to accommodate this growing population. Do we really believe more cars on the road is healthy?

And what evidence does this writer have that the units will go unsold? And even if true, might this excess inventory be good for the market by deeply driving down prices?

And for park space, immediately to the north of the Buchanan West area, the City has long been acquiring adjoining residential parcels to expand the Willingdon Heights Park. A great park getting even bigger with every old single-family house that gets demolished to make more green space available for this growing area.

Where I can agree is that the City needs to expand what is called “missing middle” housing forms. And guess what, on Feb. 28, a public hearing is scheduled to update the Bainbridge and Lochdale Village plans that cement into the City plans exactly more of this kind of much-needed ground-oriented housing. I encourage everyone to support this initiative as reminding council that just because a few oppose pretty much any change, responsible development together with purposeful sustainability-oriented design will make Burnaby just that much better.

No city plan is perfect, but Burnaby’s does take advantage of high-quality rapid transit, growing park space, and ensuring other forms of housing are available in nearby village centers.

Finally, when council considers any Official Community Plan amendment as contemplated for West Buchanan, they have a truly difficult challenge of reconciling the often selfish wants of current residents with the obligation to prepare for our future neighbours over the next 30 to 50 years.

And if we accept the objection from this writer, do we really want our politicians only thinking about what is happening prior to the next election? Let’s demand more from our elected officials than that way- too-narrow worldview.

Joe Sulmona
North Burnaby