Burnaby City Hall. (Dustin Godfrey / Burnaby Beacon)

Burnaby city council roundup — Feb 28, 2022

Missed yesterday's council meeting? We've got you covered.

By Simran Singh | March 1, 2022 |5:00 am

I know that everyone wishes they had time to keep up with the goings-on at Burnaby City Hall, but I get it, life gets busy.

That’s why you can count on us– the trusty Burnaby Beacon team– to hunker down on a rainy Monday night and fill you in with what went down at the Feb 28 council meeting.

Here’s what happened at Council last night:

Opening items

There were two delegation speakers on Monday. Burnaby resident Martin Kendell, an independent council candidate in the upcoming municipal election, presented council with an update on his Clean Up Burnaby Campaign. In 2021, Kendell collected over 500 pounds of garbage from the streets and parks of Burnaby. This year, he’s looking to clean up 1,000 lbs of garbage from local streets and parks by Oct 15, 2022. He has arranged for larger cleanups with volunteers and he also proposed a two-day spring clean-up for the City of Burnaby. He’s spoken to the Burnaby Board of Trade for support and now he’s looking for support from the city and other organizations to carry out the event. Council approved the proposal to be sent to staff for further review.

Herb Simak and his fellow residents brought forward a presentation and petition opposing the potential rezoning of the Bainbridge/ Lougheed/ Edison areas. Simak said he and his fellow residents were not in opposition to the Bainbridge rezoning expansion happening around Dairyland, Winston, Greenwood, and the parcel of land on the northeast corner of Bainbridge Ave, as well as the area west of Bainbridge Ave.

The areas of concern resulted in a petition of opposition to the rezoning of a subdivision encompassing several streets located on the east side of Bainbridge Ave. Simak said this is a desirable single-family home subdivision, all with the intent of being long-term residences.

“There are 108 single-family homes in this area of which approximately 10% are being occupied by renters. Without exception, these renters were extremely concerned of the possibility of being pushed out due to a land assembly development,” noted Simak, adding that land assembly speculators have been soliciting homeowners and residents with the “prospect of huge financial gains over and above their assessment.” Simak said the petition shows a “strong majority” of homeowners who are not interested of having their subdivision torn apart with midrise and lowrise developments. Simak and his fellow presenters asked council to compel the Bainbridge planning committee to remove the area they have identified from the proposed Phase 3 consultation which is set to come out in March. They also noted that the city’s method of collecting feedback from owners in the area is “deficient” because they are not collecting information that would allow them to identify if respondents actually live in the area.  Mayor Hurley said he was concerned to hear about the speculators approaching homeowners and added that Simak and his fellow presenters are “being heard” for their concerns.

Municipal single-use reduction bylaws

The environment committee met last week and adopted a report in relation to a notice of motion submitted by Coun Pietro Calendino and Coun James Wang regarding a single-use plastic reduction bylaw. The bylaw would look to implement a ban on plastic items such as plastic check-out bags, plastic stir sticks, plastic straws (other than ones used for accessibility needs in hospitals and care homes, and for those living with disabilities), plastic cutlery, foam cups, and possibly foam food containers. The environment committee determined that a regional standard approach that aligns with Metro Vancouver’s framework would be the best route for Burnaby and recommended council direct staff to begin expedited development of the bylaw.

Vibe check

Coun Joe Keithley said he supports the recommendation of “this important issue” and pointed out that there have been conflicting approaches taken by different government jurisdictions which have led to a “dog’s breakfast” type of approach. He was pleased that staff recommended the Metro Vancouver framework, to allow for a more easy-to-follow and consistent with a regionally harmonized approach.

Vote Check

N/A

Expedited Provincial Regulation of Single-Plastics

This item is directly related to the development of the single-use plastics regulation bylaw and it gets a bit complicated, so stick with me here.  When the Environment Committee met earlier this month, they expressed concern that “increasingly, local governments are being tasked with enacting their own bylaws that would be more effective and equitable if regulated on a Provincial or Federal level.” Arising from that discussion was a recommendation that the committee endorses a solution to be submitted to the Lower Mainland Local Government Association (LMLGA) and Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM). There were two resolutions, one of them which calls on the BC government to “expedite the development of single-use plastic regulations by the end of 2022 and the regulations will not include replacement fees for single-use plastic items.”

Vibe Check

Coun Alison Gu asked for an amendment to the part of the resolution noted above. She said that the point of the resolution is to “ask for more harmonized regulations rather than this patchwork approach and to do so without necessarily dictating the fees charged on single-use plastic items.” She said the committee’s conversation about the fees was just around the “contradictory approach of the ministerial order which requires municipalities to enact fees that have unfairly been targeting individuals who are experiencing lower income or homelessness.” If Burnaby brings in its own bylaw on single-use plastics reduction, it will be mandated by the province to charge an additional 25 cents for paper bags and that fee goes to the merchants.

Gu suggested an amendment, that should read: “expedite the development of single-use plastic regulations by the end of 2022 and for no fees for essential items but where fees exist to be collected by the province to remit to local governments for the purposes of climate action programs.”

Mayor Hurley was concerned that the rewording “completely changes the intent of what was before us.”

Coun Keithley sided with Gu on the amendment and was in favour of submitting it.

Coun Jordan said that a lot of councillors didn’t want Burnaby’s bylaw to impose a fee for those who were using single-use items. “And it’s pretty clear the province has done huge consultation on this, like for almost a year and … they have no intention of having those fees continue on when they bring on their legislation. I think we’d just muddy the waters if we start to add that layer of saying we should get that money. I’m not against us getting money, but they’re not going to do it,” she said.

Coun Sav Dhaliwal supported the amendment. “I think even though the province doesn’t have any intentions to give [us] a share but it  never should stop us [to] ask what’s right.”

Coun Calendino supported the “intent” of the amendment because he said fees shouldn’t stay within the pockets of the merchant. He suggested adding a third resolve to address what should be done with the fees if there are any imposed. But Dhaliwal said that if a third resolve was added,  the second resolve would have to be tweaked as well. Clearly, things got very technical.

Ultimately, Hurley said he would allow the amendment as it was originally proposed by Gu. “It is on the edge but I will allow it,” he said.

Vote Check

Amendment: Carried
Motion with the amendment: Carried

Potential Change to the Royal Oak Community Plan

This is another item that gets a bit detailed that involves the BC Government and Services Employees’ Union developing five lots on Palm venue in the Royal Oak area into its new Lower Mainland office, that would also include two residential towers with market and non-market rental housing, as well as an “affordable” child care facility. The proposal has been developed into a “more detailed report” according to the city’s general manager of planning and development, Ed Kozak, and also includes a proposed rezoning amendment to the Royal Oak community plan. On Monday, council was voting on preparing a rezoning bylaw that will advance to first reading on March 7 and bringing the application forward to a public hearing on March 29. The Royal Oak plan allows for RM3 zoning (medium-density residential) at the proposed building site but an amendment to the Royal Oak plan is being proposed in the rezoning application to add C2 Commercial and PI Institutional District uses to the site as well as RM5r. Discussions around the proposal have been ongoing since December 2020, when council received a report from the planning and development committee regarding the rezoning of the subject site. At the time, Coun Jordan and Dan Johnston voted against the proposal and Jordan expressed her concern with the application again during Monday’s meeting. To note, Coun Dan Johnston abstained from this report due to possible conflicts.

Vibe Check

Coun Gu said she was very supportive of the project as 50% of the units are deemed “Burnaby Affordable” and there’s hope and intention to further lower rates for a certain percentage of those units.” She added that she thinks the project has the potential to “set the bar” in Burnaby, BC, and Canada in terms of how much affordable housing can be developed in a feasible and sustainable project.

Jordan had several concerns. Her main point was an issue with what she said was the lack of consultation with the community and shared her concern with “spot zoning.”  Jordan proposed two motions. The first was to refer the report back to staff to develop a suitable plan of community and public consultation. Coun Mike Hillman seconded the motion, but it ultimately failed.

Jordan’s second motion proposed that the information of the public hearing be distributed within 100-metres of the building site. That motion was seconded by Hillman again. The second motion failed, with only Jordan showing her support.

Coun Dhaliwal said he felt that creating motions on the fly could hurt the “good things” council is doing. “You can’t be cherry-picking some [motions] to go through and the others you don’t like you want to change them.”

Vote Check

Carried with Jordan opposing

Second reading of proposed townhouses at Wayburne Drive

The second reading of the proposed townhomes at Wayburne Drive was withdrawn from Monday’s council meeting.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Coun Johnston voted against the change to the Royal Oak Plan. It was Coun Jordan. The story has since been amended.

Simran Singh

Managing Editor at Burnaby Beacon

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