Burnaby Housing Authority board members announced

Plus: Burnaby receives the Government Finance Officers Association Triple Crown and council celebrates Environmental Awards winners

From volunteers who dedicate their free time to cleaning up the community to children painting murals and finance awards, this week’s council meeting’s agenda was packed. Here are some of the highlights. 

Environmental Awards

For Our Kids Burnaby received an Environmental Award for their work in fighting climate change. Photo: Sue Big Oil

Burnaby’s mayor and council recognized six recipients of the city’s 2024 Environmental Awards. The awards, in their 29th year, recognize “the outstanding contributions of individuals, community groups, businesses, and organizations to environmental sustainability in our community,” according to the city’s website. The city’s Environmental Committee reviews nominations and recommends winners to council.

Coun. Joe Keithley read the announcements about the award recipients. Two winners received Environmental Stars. The first was Nikki Gill, an environmentalist who founded the Fraser River Clean Up Club in 2021 and has been organizing cleanup events throughout the Lower Mainland ever since. 

The second environmental star was For Our Kids Burnaby, a group of parents and grandparents that organizes events and actions to fight climate change. The group has opposed the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and joined protests against the project. It also successfully persuaded the City of Burnaby to join the campaign to take legal action against large oil companies, known as Sue Big Oil. 

Other award recipients were Clay Construction Inc., a company based in Langley; Laurel Dykstra, an Anglican priest; and Irene Lau, a Burnaby Lake Park Association board member. 

Council approves SFU emergency route project  

Aerial photo of the Trans Mountain Tank Farm on Burnaby Mountain. Photo: Shutterstock

One source of anxiety for some Burnaby Mountain residents, SFU faculty members, and students is that there is only one main road off the mountain. The main reason for this anxiety is the presence of the Trans Mountain Tank Farm, which houses large tanks filled with flammable fossil fuels located in the middle of the forest on Burnaby Mountain. Some residents feel a little on edge up there, fearing an earthquake may spark a massive fire that would trap hundreds of people on Burnaby Mountain. 

This week, council approved a contract award for GPM Civil Contracting Inc., for an estimated total cost of $2,105,250 for a new SFU Emergency Route Roadworks project. 

The project aims to create an alternative route off of Burnaby Mountain in an emergency by widening an existing trail to allow access to ambulances and fire trucks. 

“The scope of this project includes constructing a 4-metre paved emergency route to connect Simon Fraser University and Mintara Restaurant parking lot in Burnaby Mountain Park,” said a report submitted to council. “The emergency evacuation route is a priority project designed to allow downhill evacuation for users of all ages and abilities, as well as ambulance usage in emergency situations on Burnaby Mountain Park.” 

Meet Burnaby Housing Authority’s new board members

During the meeting, Mayor Mike Hurley announced the names of the housing authority’s new board members. The Burnaby Housing Authority, created in November 2023, aims to be an independent entity responsible for building more housing in the city. 

According to the city’s webpage on the project, “The aim of the Burnaby Housing Authority (BHA) would be to create more units faster by being more nimble, innovative and bold.” 

The board will include six independent directors: 

  • Aubrey Kelly, president and CEO of UBC Properties Trust 

  • Ian Cullis, director of asset management at BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA)

  • Lilian Kan, director of development management at Colliers 

  • Stephani Baker, vice president of development and communications at Team Rubicon

  • Andrew Tong, managing director at Integral Strategic Real Estate 

  • Michael Leroux, partner at Richards Buell Sutton LLP 

In addition, the board will include four board members representing the city:

  • Mayor Mike Hurley

  • Coun. Alison Gu

  • Coun. Daniel Tetrault

  • Noreen Kassam, deputy chief administrative officer and chief financial officer for the city 

“The Burnaby Housing Authority is designed to be an independent entity guided by representatives of our community and empowered to help drive the creation of affordable housing in Burnaby,” Hurley said. “I look forward to working closely with all of you on this important project, and I’m excited to get it underway very soon.”

Burnaby wins finance awards

During the council meeting, Hurley congratulated the finance department for winning the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Triple Crown Award

The City of Burnaby’s finance team also received a certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting. The city also won the budget presentation award. 

“Financial reporting is an essential part of doing business as a municipality. We’re extremely fortunate to have such talented folks working in our finance department,” Hurley said.

This piece was made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

Like what you just read? Do you support local journalism? Help us keep going—and growing.

Sign up for our once a week newsletter, or become an Insider to show your love for local reporters and writers.