Rick McGowan of Burnaby sent in notice of a Metrotown Residents’ Association meeting at the Metrotown Library at 6:30pm on Sept 19, 2014. Below is his analysis of critical aspects of changes being considered by Burnaby planners and Council.
According to Corporate realtor Colliers International, “The City of Burnaby is redrafting the Metrotown Area Plan and higher overall densities are anticipated for properties in close proximity to a skytrain station. Discussion with market participants suggests an increase in base density from 1.1x to 3.4x.”
A subject property at 5868 Olive Ave. is currently zoned RM3 (Multiple Family Residential District) and has a general land use designation as “medium density multiple family residential” (yellow) according to the City’s zoning maps.
“Constructed circa 1969, this 3-storey, wood frame apartment building has 47 suites (3 studio, 37 one bedroom and 7 two bedroom with two bath). The building has been maintained by the owner and is considered to be in fair condition.”
The realtor states in an information sheet for the property, “The Metrotown Official Community Plan is being redrafted by staff at the City of Burnaby. Given the proximity to the Patterson Skytrain Station and a host of high density developments in the immediate vicinity it is our view that the potential for the City to designate the Property to RM5 “S” from RM3 is very high. The maximum floor area ratio with RM5 “S” is 5.0 which provides a base floor area ratio of 3.4x and the option to purchase 1.6x floor area ratio as bonus density (depending on site size).”
I previously expressed concern to council about the rezoning of affordable low rise rentals outside the RM5 areas designated in the Metrotown Community Plan 6280 Cassie Avenue and 6331, 6363, 6377 McKay Ave Rize Alliance.
Upon further digging I came across a Bob Rennie’s Speaking notes for the 2014 UDI AGM entitled Patterns. At the very end of the presentation is a summary of ongoing development in Burnaby. What stood out for me were several properties designated High Rise in the “Future Developments-Development Permit Stage” (5977-5979 Wilson Avenue BlueSky (part of Bosa family), 6004-6018 Wilson Avenue Solterra (Mike Bosa VP))
What is important to recognize is that these properties are currently zoned RM3 (Multiple Family Residential District) and have a general land use designation as “medium density multiple family residential” (yellow) according to the City’s zoning maps.
My concern is that the land use maps provided by the City seriously misleads the public and residents about the plan for this area. A change to RM5 s zoning will most certainly lead to the evictions of renters at these multiple addresses. Furthermore it is common knowledge (at least among the development community) that “The City of Burnaby is redrafting the Metrotown Area Plan.” If this is being done, it is being done without consultation with area residents. This is unquestionably undemocratic. The City and development community are are making decisions about residential development without consulting the affected residents.
The Regional Growth Strategy calls for “High and medium density housing, including affordable housing choices” in Regional Town Centers like Metrotown. Yet, Burnaby is bulldozing Metrotown’s medium density and affordable housing choices.
This policy uproots established families, tearing children from their schools and diminishing low and fixed income renters access to rapid transit and amenities like Central Park and libraries.
At 5868 Olive Ave. alone, 47 such households will be displaced. How many hundreds of households have been uprooted already with the wave of development along Beresford? How many hundreds more will be displaced with the City’s secretive redrafting of the Metrotown Area Plan?
According to Metro Vancouver, “in the 2011 Census, there were 13,013 dwelling units and 25,321 people living in Metrotown, accounting for over 14% of all units and 11% of the total population of Burnaby.”
Metrotown covers an area of approximately 297 hectares (735 acres) (3.07 km2 )
Prior to the wave of construction that is taking place. Density in Metrotown was 43.8 Dwellings per hectare, or 17.7 dwellings per acre.
There were 85 people per hectare, or ( 34 people per acre), or (8248 people per km2)
This means Metrotown’s population density in 2011 was somewhere between that of Singapore (8350 people per km2) and Lahore, Pakistan (8200 people per km2)