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Letter: Plan for six-storey rental development is deeply flawed

Housing proposal marred by issues of environmental impact, parking and traffic, reader says.
A rendering of the proposed development at 7388 Southwynde Ave. in Burnaby.

Re: Burnaby homeowners decry 6-storey rental proposal as 'eyesore'


The proposal to build a six-storey development on what remains of the 10 acres not yet developed and located south of Southwynde Drive is actually the second phase of a two-phase development plan for the South Edmonds area.

There are several problems with the way the City of Burnaby has haphazardly taken the approach to this development.

1) The original plan for this development called for The City of Burnaby to leave a green-belt buffer and nature trail for this mature cedar growth forest. The environmental assessment is taken from the City of Burnaby and given directly to the irresponsible hands of the property developer. There are never any environmental issues debated or permission denied for this building licence to develop. There are, in fact, several generations of barred owls living exactly where the development is proposed. The owlets will be killed off when the trees are taken down. It takes a full year for the owls to develop into juveniles.

2) From a similar development on this same property between 2021 and 2023 there was less than one month's notice given to the taxpaying public who own this property to approve or disapprove of the development plan. This notice was printed on a sign board in very tiny letters on Byrnepark Drive, where cars drove right by. There are not a lot of pedestrians in that area who could have taken notice.

3) Despite the location being in South Edmonds, the location of both developments, present and future, are not walking-friendly or even transit-friendly. The bus that shuttles mostly workers to the closest shopping centre and industrial park is every half hour. The benches for both bus stops heading west on Southridge Drive are not sheltered from the elements. The closest SkyTrain is no less than a 20-minute walk.

4) There is no plan for what to do with the cars that will, from necessity, park on both sides of Byrne Road once this development is pushed through. The underground garage required for a development of this size would be impossible to build. The issues with water ingress will be impossible to fix due to the very steep slope of the land above this development. Issues of water ingress are the main reason for the ubiquitous "for sale" signs found at the 15-year-old housing development located 100 metres directly north of the Southwynde debacle.

5) The last proposal by the City of Burnaby in February 2023 was hurriedly retracted when citizens took exception to the building of an organic waste facility on environmentally protected land feeding directly into the Fraser River. Yet, without any new proposal about what to do with the garbage presently overly generated without a means of disposal, the City has decided to proceed with further property development. Soft golf clap to those responsible Council Members.

There were over 2,000 signatures added to a 2017 petition which was done in futile protest over the property development currently sitting on Byrnepark Drive.

In conclusion, it certainly does not appear that any number of petitioners can stop developers who are feeding greedily at the trough of monetary opportunity in this pristinely beautiful area.

Wendy Taylor