Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dismay expressed over loss of view

The Solo District project drew the ire of residents of a tower located north of Lougheed Hwy.  Although some of them expressed their looking forward to the new commercial amenities that will be a part of the new development, they expressed their displeasure over losing their southern view when the new residential towers are erected between Willingdon and Rosser on the south side of Lougheed Hwy.  They further complained of the loss of their property value once the view is interrupted by the residential towers slated to be as much as 49 stories high.   City of Burnaby Counsellor Volkow pointed out to an affected resident who had purchased their condo 3 years ago that the Solo District Project was on the books prior to her purchasing her home implying that she should have been aware about what will occur in the future in this rapidly changing area.

The affected residents must realize that their high-rise tower must have blocked someone else's view when it was built and that the impetus that spurred the development of their high-rise is the same as the one spurring the Solo District Project.

They also expressed their concern about increased automobile traffic as more people begin to live in the area.  Some residents say that traffic has already become a problem and that  more tall towers will exacerbate the problem.

The question that should be asked in reaction to these questions is this; "How will traffic issues be resolved if the towers are built elsewhere and cars still have to go through Brentwood to get to downtown or wherever else they are going?  Increased auto traffic will definitely be an issue if people moving into the neighbourhood are going to use their cars instead of transit.  In my opinion, it is automobile users that are causing traffic and they are the ones suffering from increased traffic.  At some point, drivers must begin to realize that they are part of the problem if not THE problem.  That being said, it is very likely that the draw for people to live in Brentwood is the fact that it is a transit hub that will provide most of the amenities for daily living within walking distance.

Along with concerns about car traffic, some citizens mentioned that the area around Brentwood is not very pedestrian-friendly at the moment and that the increasing numbers of pedestrians resulting from densification in Brentwood will increase safety issues.  A resident of Halifax St pointed out that she has observed pedestrians crossing Lougheed Hwy on Rosser Ave where a pedestrian intersection currently does not exist as is the case at Willingdon Ave to the east and Madison Ave to the west.

Another resident of the area mentioned the parking pressures that have come with allowing on average only 1 parking stall or less per new residential unit in new developments.  The speaker pointed out that many renters in the new buildings are students of nearby post secondary institutions that have cars with no onsite parking available.  The result has been increased numbers of cars parked on side streets throughout the area.

Burnaby City Council asked the developer to address traffic and parking issues in its development proposal and adjourned the hearing.

As more high-rise towers are built, I hope that the city will consider the elements that make neighbourhoods more pedestrian friendly while effectively dealing with automobile traffic flow issues.
I believe that that the Solo District project is an important step in the densification of Brentwood.  Densification of a neighbourhood not only brings increased numbers of people; it encourages a diverse and increased number of commercial amenities that otherwise would not exist.   Increased numbers of people means increased numbers of pedestrians which leads to an awareness of the need for pedestrian-friendly initiatives that improve the vibrance of the neighbourhood.  Without large numbers of people, a vibrant street life will not become established in the neighbourhood.


  1. Good post! I'd like to see this project a go-ahead. Also more parks and facilities please! Would it be a second reading?

  2. According to the City of Burnaby, it is at the 2nd reading stage.