Monday, May 15, 2017

Linear park or social housing?

There has been much criticism of Burnaby City Council over the years for not doing enough to build affordable and social housing in the city as low income earners are being pushed aside to make room for market condo developments.  Most of the public criticism comes from political opponents that are aligned with the ruling provincial BC Liberals around municipal election times.  Burnaby City Council, which is affiliated with the BC NDP, has maintained the argument that social housing is a provincial matter and that the provincial government has allowed its political ideology to get in the way of cooperation and adequate funding support to build affordable social housing in Burnaby.  Furthermore, the critics of Burnaby Council have conveniently excluded the outgoing BC Liberal MLA (of the last 16 years) Richard Lee and his provincial government from any criticism on this matter.  A central part of the criticism has pointed out that the City of Burnaby has been sitting on massive consecutive surpluses that it has managed to build up into a massive reserve over the years and that the reserve should be used to build the needed social housing. This argument is quite disingenuous since the the big knock on the NDP by those very opponents has been that the NDP is not good at fiscal management while the BC Liberal-affiliated opponents in Burnaby have aggressively argued that the NDP affiliated City Council spend its hard-saved funds in an area that has always been within the realm of responsibility of the BC Liberal Government.

With the result of the recent BC provincial election paving the way for a potential coalition government being formed by the Greens and NDP, the impasse on affordable housing between Burnaby and Victoria may come to an end.  While this debate continues, a letter writer to the Burnaby Now has made a suggestion about where affordable housing could have been built.

LETTERS: Think housing, not trail
 / Burnaby Now
May 12, 2017 09:22 AM

Dear Editor:
The spring Info Burnaby newsletter published a full-page spread on the merits of a proposed linear park running along the east side of Willingdon Avenue between Hastings Street and the Brentwood mall. A multi-use trail is envisioned to accommodate cyclists, pedestrians and joggers. One can imagine the conflict that will occur between this group of users!
It is also proposed that seating and “gathering” areas be developed along this linear parkway – all adjacent to one of the busiest vehicular corridors in North Burnaby. One questions the safety of pedestrians, especially children, unless a formidable fence is installed.
Mayor Derek Corrigan has indicated this project will be funded by community benefit funds, as provided by building developers, hence there will be no cost to taxpayers. Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that for many years the City of Burnaby has spent a considerable amount of taxpayers’ money, purchasing many properties along the aforesaid route, with a view to accommodating rapid transit. Rapid transit along this route, being no longer considered a priority, has opened the door for the proposed linear parkway. However, I submit that prior consideration for said route should have been given to the construction of suitable housing along the route, to accommodate the huge number of low-income families who cannot afford to purchase the boxy, highly expensive apartments being erected throughout Burnaby. Further, the cost of rental accommodation is also beyond the reach of the unfortunate low-income earners.  Economical housing situated at the southeast corner of Confederation Park would be an ideal proposal for the east side of Willingdon Avenue.
Mike Horton, Burnaby
© 2017 Burnaby Now


  1. To me, the answer is easy. The linear park is the best, and only, option for the area. An HOV lane would be unnecessary because the level of congestion in the area during rush hour is not at a level to warrant one. Second, social housing would not practical. How many social housing units would be built on these lots? At most, 40 or so units would be constructed because the units would have to closely mirror the houses nearby and residents would probably not be too keen on social housing in the area.