Re: Burnaby should displace homeowners, not renters, NOW March 5
Burnaby needs more mid-density ground-oriented housing. Plus, plenty of opportunities exist to transition the older single-family housing stock on key transportation routes to something better that creates a range of affordable choices.
First, let’s stick with existing plans in place for the major city centres. Re-working core area densities mid-stream can be fatal, upending years of careful development planning. Major investments take time to mature and come together in a way that can create centers of remarkable liveability that will also diminish need for single occupant vehicles.
Metrotown shows what is possible, and the Brentwood/Gilmore/Holdom corridor will soon become another great area of diverse livability. Another example of what is working, and more is needed, are the apartments springing up along the busy Hastings transit corridor.
The mid-density gap is what the mayor is rightly talking about. Where are the new multi-family “front doors on the street” that create a similar situation to what Burnaby citizens have long enjoyed?
I hear from family and friends they would be happy to move if new, easily accessible housing, like townhouses, were available. This could also include row-houses, multi-plexes, and other low-rise developments that allows retention of the personal space and privacy not always available in high-density living. This housing transition must also recognize the immense political resistance that will emerge if the only choice for single family homeowners is into towers or even apartments.
Thus, the mayor is absolutely right to raise for public debate what other housing choices are necessary and acceptable.
And where can this mid-density ground-oriented housing opportunity be first implemented, without huge disruption to existing single family neighbourhoods?
We just heard Dairyland has been sold, located next to the SkyTrain station on Sperling. The adjoining Telus site appears close to being sold, and nearby are some very large single family lots that too should be included in this transition. The city calls this area the Bainbridge Village, and about time that the Sperling SkyTrain Station, now open for some two decades, gets serious development planning attention.
Accordingly, I respectfully suggest to mayor and council, make the Bainbridge Village redevelopment plan a high priority. And a core planning objective is to engage developers and the public to whether this area can become a new mixed-use model that accommodates all forms of housing choices, including those lands north to Broadway and east to Bainbridge.
And before we pursue lessons from the uber-wealthy political enclave of Bonn, the former west German capital, how about a dialogue with local people to create “Made in Burnaby” housing solutions.
Joe Sulmona, North Burnaby