Skip to content

'Monstrous' tower concerns residents

Locals tell council proposed Lougheed Highway high rise will increase bottleneck at busy corner
Burnaby City Hall sign
Burnaby City Hall.

A proposed 46-storey Lougheed Highway condominium tower will cast a shadow over the neighbourhood, especially when it comes to traffic, according to nearby residents who appeared at a public hearing at Burnaby City Hall Tuesday.

About 25 people showed up to oppose the project to be built at the northwest corner of Lougheed and Springer Avenue. It’s part of a triangle of land where Lougheed, Springer and Douglas Road come together.

Longtime area resident Stacy Boyer said she was disappointed and frustrated because she believes property values and her enjoyment of living will decrease because such large highrises can ruin neighbourhoods.

“Forty-six storeys is monstrous. It is very, very big compared to everything around it,” said Boyer. “This is just one more building going up in that tiny, tiny footprint of land, and I’m displaced from the area where I’ve grown up in.”

The proposal calls for 307 strata units and six three-storey townhouses. The tower’s units will range from 32 studios of 447 to 513 square feet to six adaptable three-bedroom units of up to 1,546 sq. ft. A city staff report said the tower is designed to recede at four different levels, allowing for sky gardens at key transition points.

But some residents told council the highrise will dwarf the current two next door on Douglas Road, which top out at 18 storeys, and create even more congestion.

“It’s quite a bottleneck already. I’d be quite concerned about several hundred additional people on those roads,” said Rhea Stewart. “The area is already quite parcelled in.”

Mayor Derek Corrigan said the city is following Metro Vancouver’s growth plan by building vertical along rapid transit lines.

But Douglas Road resident Taryn McKay said, “Not everybody’s going to take SkyTrain.”

She said there are plenty of reasons for people to be on the road.

Corrigan said the objective is to make sure as many residents as possible are taking SkyTrain and the city has already noticed a reduced need for parking in towers because of rapid transit.

The alternative to Burnaby going vertical, he said, is suburban sprawl in the Fraser Valley, which could cause commuters to clog Burnaby roads even more than they already are.

Coun. Colleen Jordan, who chairs the city’s planning committee, said a Metro Vancouver regional growth strategy determined Burnaby will need to add 2,000 residential units a year to keep up to Greater Vancouver’s growing population.

Jacek Maciejewski, a member of a strata council for a 46-year-old, 27-unit townhouse complex across the Lougheed Highway, is worried the proposed tower would have an impact on Beecher Creek, which runs behind their property. He called on the city to force the developer to pay for an independent study on the ground conditions and to pay for any environmental damage caused to the creek by construction.

“We’ve seen some erosion on the property. We have concerns future development will have damage on the property,” said Maciejewski.

Many speakers complained the tower would cast a shadow and block views.

But the building’s architect, Foad Rafii, said a shadow study showed it will not be an issue. He also pointed out the proposed density of the tower meets what has been outlined in the city’s Official Community Plan.

The city’s planning department recommended a two-page list of conditions to be met before the rezoning application is granted.