Once again, affordable housing was discussed at the latest all candidates' meeting which took place at Stride Elementary School yesterday evening. I didn't attend the meeting and, as is the case much of the time, I am using the Burnaby Now as my source of info on this meeting. The Burnaby Greens candidate Rick McGowan stated that if elected, the Greens will allocate 20% of density bonus money to create affordable housing in areas close to SkyTrain stations. However, he further stated that the Greens would reduce the allowable density in town centres back to previous levels from the current allowance that Burnaby City Council established earlier this year. This would essentially reduce the amount of potential money that could go towards affordable housing.
As I have written earlier, it is important to have a program in place to deal with affordable housing for at-risk members of the community before it gets out of control and before available space is taken up by conventional housing which makes the issue more costly to deal with in the future. The Greens have suggested a concrete plan instead of just promises to attempt to work with various levels of government with an excuse later to blame the other levels of government for the lack of action.
There is currently plenty of potential to build more affordable housing in the Brentwood area as developers clammer to have their high-density projects approved. I like the Green idea of 20% allocation of density funds but disagree with the scaling back of the density allowances that were approved earlier this year. Greater density will help fund more community amenities as well as allow adjacent single-family neighbourhoods to maintain their low-density character and serenity.