Letter to the editor: Burnaby needs more YIMBYism

Further to the Beacon’s well-timed article about how the City is considering formally adopting the Bainbridge & Lochdale Village Neighborhood Plans, we must thank the Mayor & Council for this welcome YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) approach. This proactive step will serve our community well for many generations to come.

And to understand what YIMBY really means, we must give credit to the most prominent supporter of this progressive way of thinking, namely Mr. Eric Adams, the current Mayor of New York City. As a child, Mayor Adams tells of the deep poverty & housing insecurity that his family & neighbours experienced daily. With some 9 million inhabitants, Mayor Adams makes the delivery of affordable housing his daily mission, which is not just about shelter but as importantly to enable dignity for all.

As a child born here of immigrants to Canada, I understand these difficulties which were quite evident way back when. For the current newcomers among us, these kinds of perils have just gotten worse. We can and must do better to provide more housing choices; despite the naysayers.

Unfortunately, I heard truly disheartening views during my recent efforts to encourage our neighbours to support the Bainbridge Village draft plan. In fact, I was shocked by the views of a particular resident, who turns out also to be the child of immigrants, and whose parents came from my parent’s home country. Is it even possible to have a reasoned discussion about housing choices when the response was, “I don’t care about new immigrants.”

And then we have the exclusive enclave in Bainbridge East, with some homes well exceeding $3 million per last year’s assessments. Repeated delegations from these neighbours to Council & their well-publicized local media campaign clearly demonstrates their complete unwillingness to say yes to even discussing possible solutions to the Housing Crisis. Instead, as council intends this area for future planning, I encourage the new council to budget for this staff work and public consultation to start as soon as practical and continue on the right trajectory of YIMBY.

Should Council see fit on Monday to send the Bainbridge & Lochdale plans to Public Hearing, then I encourage everyone to please show up and give a resounding “YES” to helping Burnaby remain a welcoming, sustainable and affordable community for all.

Joe Sulmona, North Burnaby

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