We have obtained this media advisory from Burnaby community activists Helen Ward and Rick McGowan, and share it here with readers. See our related post here: Important Public Hearing tonight: Metrotown Skytrain station, plus 41- and 26-storey towers in Metrotown, Burnaby (22-July-2014)
It is exceedingly rare to hear from neighbourhood associations or community groups in Burnaby regarding development issues. They have been severely weakened or faded out of existence over the past few decades under a powerful, developer-backed regime at Burnaby City Council. The concerns raised below deserve careful attention.
Burnaby – July 22, 2014 – Public Hearing about two more towers of 41 and 26 storeys proposed for Metrotown.
Tuesday July 22, 2014, 7 pm
City Hall Council Chambers, 4949 Canada Way, Burnaby
Burnaby community activists Helen Ward and former Green Party candidate Rick McGowan will raise questions about the Local Government Act consultation requirements and Community Plans, Council’s failure to conduct the required public consultation, and their lack of planning for amenities to accommodate the super-sized density such as schools, hospital space, policing, parks, community facilities, roads, and transit.
The NDP’s Burnaby Citizen Association holds all seats on Council so there is no political opposition at City Hall.
Mayor Corrigan and Council quietly passed a ‘text amendment’ to the zoning bylaw that doubled maximum allowable density in Burnaby’s four Town Centres back in 2010 just before Christmas.
The amendment also required conducting formal reviews of the Town Centre Community Plans with extensive public consultation to begin “immediately” with Metrotown.
In March 2011 staff reported that the consultation would take a lot of time, but that meanwhile many “opportunities” for development were appearing. So – without even a Public Hearing – Council extended the doubled density to the entire area of the four Town Centres. They then went ahead with approving construction of towers up to 70 stories and let the required consultation “advance” into oblivion.
City Hall has not even started any of the consultations and Community Plan reviews, yet it is approving construction of numerous towers.
The Local Government Act requires that changes to existing Community Plans be made with an extensive public consultation process in addition to a Public Hearing.
In March 2012, the Globe and Mail quoted developers saying that getting approval from Burnaby is “faster” and “easier” than Vancouver:
– Intracorp president, Don Forsgren: “You don’t have to negotiate with Burnaby.”
– Bosa president, Daryl Simpson: “Burnaby is a great place to do business. Is it easier than Vancouver? Yes it is, actually. Vancouver is more complicated, no question. Certainly the Burnaby density formula makes it more attractive to developers. But the City of Burnaby makes it easier.”
– Urban Analytics’ Michael Ferreira, analyst for the industry “concurs that part of the reason Burnaby’s Metrotown is booming is because the process is generally faster than elsewhere.”