Burnaby City Hall. (Dustin Godfrey)

Burnaby city council roundup—May 30, 2022

From housing to fire halls to deciding what to do with forested lands in the city, it's all here

By Dustin Godfrey | May 31, 2022 |5:00 am

For the second time in a row, I’ve got your council roundup, as Simran was off being a Cool Birthday Gal, and Srushti was also off being a Cool Birthday Gal. I will note that Simran wrote in her council preview, which we published yesterday morning, that they would save me a piece of cake, and if you’ll excuse me for a moment, I would like to just address Simran: Hello, Simran. Happy birthday! I hope it was great. I just want to put it in writing that I will be holding you to that promise. I expect cake. I very much expect cake.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, we’re on to the council roundup!

Two new fire halls

The city’s two forthcoming fire halls are now officially up for rezoning, and council approved a $50.4-million contract award for a swath of businesses to design and build them.

The fire halls are going through a new “integrated project delivery” program, where, instead of the city putting out separate contracts and requests for proposals for every aspect of the building, proposals were submitted by teams of organizations, including construction contractors, architects, engineering firms, mechanical and electrical consultants, and civil engineering consultants. There were two submissions for this, and the successful bid is being built by Kinetic Construction (full list of firms involved in the bid here).

Vibe check

Councillors were uniformly thrilled to see these two projects moving forward at last. Coun Sav Dhaliwal noted that the fire halls were being planned for several years, and he said the integrated project delivery model is proving efficient.

Originally, the city was expecting one fire hall to be completed somewhere in 2025-26, but Dhaliwal said these two fire halls could be completed in a year or two.

Coun Pietro Calendino said both projects are necessary, but Fire Hall 4 does already exist, albeit well-aged and not adequate for the fire department’s needs. Fire Hall 8, up on Burnaby Mountain, however, will be serving a community that has never had its own fire hall, and Calendino noted past comments by Fire Chief Chris Bowcock that the residents of the fast-growing area are susceptible to fires, especially in the case of a tank farm fire.

Coun James Wang said he’s heard from residents on the mountain that they’re eager to have a local fire hall.

Vote check

Unanimously approved.

Childcare action plan implementation

As Simran wrote in yesterday’s council preview, the city has missed its targets for the construction of childcare facilities in Burnaby by a wide margin. So, the city is looking at how to amp up its efforts to add more childcare spaces in the woefully under-served community.

Phase 1 of the implementation includes identifying additional publicly owned sites for new childcare spaces.

The overall plan also includes earmarking some portion of community benefit bonuses, which are paid to the city by developers to build amenities, for childcare spaces, or even requiring childcare spaces in some larger developments.

Vibe check

Coun Colleen Jordan said the report includes “several action items that are listed in broad terms,” and suggested some might read the report and consider it to be a “significant change in the way of doing things.”

But she noted the suggestions that were voted on last night still had several stages of planning, including through the financial management committee and budget processes.

“It’s a framework and an implementation plan. You’re not voting on writing something in stone,” she said.

Vote check

Unanimous in favour.

Sent to public hearing

Councillors voted to send three proposed Metrotown highrises, the sweeping Grosvenor Brentwood development plan, the similarly broad Brentwood West conceptual master plan, and a Shri Ravidass gurdwara redevelopment to the June 28 public hearing last night. They include:

  • At 5852 Patterson Ave, Brook Pooni Associates is looking to build a 26-storey highrise with strata townhouse units, non-market rental apartments, and strata apartments.
  • At 6031 Wilson Ave, Bosa Properties wants to build a 53-storey residential apartment building with 416 market strata units, and 70 non-market rental units (including three inclusionary units at 20% below CMHC median rents, one at CMHC median rents, and 66 replacement units for people displaced from the existing building.
  • At 6622 and 6688 Willingdon Ave, IDS group wants to build a 34-storey tower with an 8-storey podium fronting Willingdon Avenue. It would include 460 rental units, including 362 market rentals, 26 CMHC median non-market rental units, and 72 replacement units for those displaced from the existing building.
  • At 4430 and 4488 Halifax St and 1801 Willingdon Ave, Chris Dikeakos Architects is proposing the Brentwood West conceptual master plan. This multi-tower development would include about 1,200 housing units, as we wrote in February.
  • At 4612 and 4664 Lougheed Hwy and 2040, 20140, and 2150 Alpha Ave, Grosvenor is proposing a massive redevelopment in Brentwood. We’ve also written about this, including Coun Sav Dhaliwal’s objections, particularly around a proposed community centre, here.
  • Finally, at 7271 Gilley Ave, the Shri Guru Ravidass Centre is looking to redevelop the existing gurdwara to include a kitchen area to produce vegetarian meals by off-site seniors, a 32-space childcare facility with an outdoor play area, two dining halls, a library/seniors’ community centre, meeting rooms, and spaces for language and music classes. You can read some of our past coverage of this here.

Quick takes

Not everything that goes on in council is a big conversation, so here are a few quick takeaways from the meeting.

Development/park dedication in forested lands: The city is looking at how to move forward with some forested lands in the Cariboo Hill area, including two areas that border the Brunette River Conservation Area. Coun Alison Gu suggested the city do a new environmental assessment of the two Brunette River areas. Vote check: Approved unanimously

Expo Line accent lighting: Staff asked for a contract increase to include in the Expo Line accent lighting project more lights along the multi-use paths that run underneath to improve safety, at a cost of $1.9 million. Vote check: Approved unanimously

Housing choices: The city is looking at adding more density to some residential neighbourhoods, including adding laneway homes, increasing the availability of basement suites, and converting duplexes into fourplexes. Vote check: Approved unanimously

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Dustin Godfrey

Reporter at Burnaby Beacon

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