Burnaby youth can help plan the city’s future

The city will select at least a dozen Burnaby students to imagine the future of their city in the decades to come.

A previous event open to the public to discuss planning for the city’s future.

The city of Burnaby’s official community plan (OCP) is now entering its next phase, with the city inviting Burnaby youth in grades 9-12 to apply to be part of the Youth Advisory Council (YAC). Applications are open now on the city’s website and will close on Friday, Nov. 3. The city will select 12-15 students to take part in brainstorming sessions similar to the ones adults participated in earlier this year. For more on the Vision 2050 meetings, read The Beacon’s coverage from last month here.

During the Burnaby Vision 2050 event on Sept. 21, event organizers and facilitators emphasized the importance of youth participation in the new OCP, ensuring that young voices are heard and their visions incorporated into the planning process. Children were welcome at the meetings for adults to ensure that even if they did not actively participate in the planning process, that they were present as a reminder of the true purpose of this community plan and are the ones most likely to be affected by the vision for Burnaby’s future.

“Something we’re very excited about is the youth advisory council. We'll bring together some students from grades 9 through 12 to go through the same exercises we did today,” Senior Planner, Erin Rennie told The Beacon on Sept. 21.

The issues discussed during the Sept. 21 event included climate change, fossil fuels, affordability, diversity, densification and maintaining green spaces in Burnaby. The brainstorming exercise was divided into three parts. In the first part, participants were encouraged to think about the aspects of Burnaby they wanted to preserve; this was the “NOW.” The second part involved imagining the future and coming up with ideas for how they envisioned Burnaby would look in the decades to come, this part of the exercise was called the “WOW.” The third part was the “HOW” where participants had to think about strategies for the city to move from the NOW to the WOW. The final task of the evening was to participate in a mapping exercise in which attendees highlighted areas in Burnaby for various levels of densification.

This piece was made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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