Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Greater heights and more park space

With the 42 acre site of the former Safeway distribution centre in the Edmonds area up for sale, the arguments for a few taller versus several shorter residential buildings is already building up (pun intended) even before the site has been sold.

In response to this issue, the following letter supporting taller buildings in order to set aside more park space was written to the Vancouver Sun by Michael Cox:

Burnaby should plan for skyscrapers with park lands

The argument for taller buildings has merit, especially if the saved space is used for park and recreational space that will come under increased pressure from an ever-increasing population.  With high rise developments popping up around the Brentwood area and increasing numbers of people giving up on the idea that they need to own their own private outdoor space in the form of a yard, park space located in close proximity is not only a good idea, but essential in ensuring that we create healthy communities with access to quality outdoor park and recreational facilities.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Affinity at Douglas and Dawson

Dawson and Douglas has been a busy place over the past few months as the Affinity project progresses.  Along with the towers, the townhouses fronting Douglas Rd are taking shape.

This development is one of the many steps required to build an east-west connection between the growing neighbourhoods around Gilmore and Holdom Stations.  Although residential development is a benefit to the area, Burnaby must ensure that enough commercial space is interspersed throughout to encourage local neighbourhood shopping habits essential to creating "green" communities.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A place to have a veggie burger: White Spot

The old White Spot at Gilmore Ave and Lougheed Hwy has been there since I was a kid and probably longer.  Just as I don't know how old the White Spot is, I don't know how many times I've either eaten in, driven in, or just taken out a veggie burger from that place.

I've eaten lots of veggie burgers from different places and I must say, the best one is at White Spot.  To wash down a delicious veggie burger and fries with a Coke is one of the few things that can take me to an elevated state of contentment.

I've noticed that Browns Social House at Rosser and Lougheed inside the Motif at Citi building has opened and has a veggie burger on its menu...

New playgrounds

A new children's play area is being constructed next to the existing one at Brentwood Park Elementary School.  Although it may not look any different from other play areas at the moment, this one is particularly special.  The Brentwood Elementary School Parent Advisory Council raised funds to build a barrier-free playground that will allow children with disabilities to enjoy themselves when outside for recess or lunch.

Speaking of new play areas, I recently noticed that a brand new play area has been built at the southeast corner of Beecher Park.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Vantage foundation being set

The Vantage Project by Embassy Development Corporation at 2085 Rosser Ave is advancing as the excavation has been completed.  As the photograph shows (taken from overhead SkyTrain), the foundation for the units slated to front Lougheed Hwy has been laid and part of the structure is beginning to take shape.  The area in the background will see the foundation and underground parking take form over the summer.  Metrotown's skyline can be seen in the far distance.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

McDonald's Renovating

If you're craving a McDonald's breakfast on your way to catch the train in the morning, you're going to have to make new plans for your fix as the McDonald's located at Brentwood Mall is currently boarded up and  renovations are underway.  My guess is that because it opens earlier and closes later than mall hours, they want to change the layout including the entrance/exit location.  The area in front of the counter was very narrow and crowded outside mall hours when the accordion doors were closed to prevent access to the closed mall.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Steve Nash Fitness World about to open

The new Steve Nash Fitness World is nearing its grand opening on June 25.  The new facility is located in the building that was previously home to an Office Depot and is situated next to Tim Hortons and Boston Pizza at 4199 Lougheed Hwy.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Second thought needed on celebration squares?

Two days ago, a great season came to a sad conclusion for Canucks fans like me.  The worst part wasn't the fact that the Canucks lost game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final for the 3rd time in it's history.  The day after game 7, now that the season is over, the silver lining for the Canucks is that they have as good a chance as any team to win the Cup in 2012 as all teams are at point zero again.

The saddest thing for me was the destruction caused by so-called Canucks fans that began destroying the city that hosted their hockey parties throughout the playoffs.  The madness that transpired after the Canucks' loss has to be on the minds of city planners that have touted the building of public squares in town centres around Burnaby to celebrate special events.   Perhaps the scale of the gatherings need to be reduced to allow for better crowd control as one possible solution.

Whatever the solution, we can expect much debate and discussion over the building of the future celebration square at Brentwood Station.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Another day to gather and celebrate on the street

The crowds began to gather at Hamilton and Georgia from late morning as people began to stake out their spots to watch game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. By 3pm, the place quickly started to fill up and the excitement grew.

I snapped the following shots of the crowd outside CBC studios before heading home to watch the game:
Back at Brentwood Station, I saw a lineup for tickets forming as large numbers of fans prepared to head downtown to join the celebration.  It's the first time I've seen people having to line up for tickets at this station.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you see it) we have to wait until game 7 on Wednesday to see if the Canucks can win the Stanley Cup for the first time ever.  The anxiety continues...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Future celebration square perfect spot to watch Canucks playoff runs?

On the potential eve of the first ever Vancouver Canucks Stanley Cup Championship, I have been imagining what the future celebration square that will one day sit next to Brentwood Station on the northeast corner of Willingdon Ave and Lougheed Hwy will look like.  The community value of public gathering places has skyrocketed along with Canucks fever this spring as the Canucks have battled their way to the Finals and into the hearts of many people who normally are not aware of the Canucks.

The currently vacant lot situated west of the station will one day be developed into a celebration square with shops and cafes along with a bus loop that will be better integrated with the station.

The scenes of crowds gathered at Hamilton and Georgia Streets outside the CBC broadcast centre have been nothing less than spectacular.  The spontaneous, joyful interaction with complete strangers during the playoffs has been very enjoyable during my commute on the Expo and Millennium Lines back to Burnaby.  As the area around Brentwood Station develops into a town centre, I hope it develops in a way that will attract large crowds for events during important days of the year such as Remembrance Day, international sporting events, Canucks playoff runs or even local entertainment productions that will attract outdoor crowds.

Until it happens, I can continue to dream.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Brentwood Park Kindergarten buildings in place

The new Kindergarten buildings at Brentwood Park Elementary School were put in place in late May.  The prefabricated buildings will be put to use this fall when full day kindergarten classes begin in the Burnaby School District.