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Letter: New city hall not a good use for Burnaby's amenity funds

A new city hall is a "marginal amenity," this resident writes.
Burnaby city council should backtrack on its plans to build a new city hall, this resident writes.


A brochure recently arrived at my door soliciting feedback on council's decision to construct a new city hall. There are a number of aspects to this brochure which are inaccurate and misleading.

First quote: "We have no other option than to replace the building."

This is clearly not correct as there is no requirement in the B.C. Building Code to upgrade this building. Built in the 1950s, the building appears to be very serviceable and functional and in an enviable location. This lowrise building presents a low risk in terms of seismic hazard, and I would suggest that there are far greater risks today related to "atmospheric rivers" and wildfires.

Second quote: "The good news is that we can do this without any cost to the taxpayer."

Whether the money comes out of an amenity fund or other fund is irrelevant as it's taxpayers' money at the end of the day. Construction costs have spiralled enormously over the past five years.

Amenity contributions are intended for capital cost improvements related to infrastructure and community services. A new city hall is a marginal amenity. While Metrotown is a bit of a mess from a planning perspective, the addition of a new city hall will do little for years of poor planning.

Let's use our amenity funds for community centres and other capital improvements. Council, please reconsider your decision. There will surely be rainy days to come.

Tim O'Meara