New Brentwood school site on horizon
A new Brentwood-area elementary school and neighbourhood park south of Lougheed Highway are a step closer to reality now that the new owners of Dragonwood Industrial Park have applied for a rezoning of the 26-acre (10.5 hectare) site.
Concord Pacific Holdings Ltd. are proposing to develop a multi-phased, highrise, multi-family development with ground-oriented townhouses and low-rise apartments as well as commercial space to serve the immediate community, according to a Burnaby city staff report.
The property is comprised of 4756 and 4828 Lougheed Highway, 4818, 4828 and 4829 Dawson St., 2235, 2285 and 2311 Delta Ave. and 2316 Beta Ave. and includes several smaller properties currently owned by the city that would be sold to the developer and added to the site.
The property has long been designated in the Brentwood Town Centre Development Plan for multi-family redevelopment and 7.68 acres has been sought for the school and park.
In fact, as reported in the NewsLeader, the owners of Dragonwood claimed in a 2009 lawsuit against the City of Burnaby that city inspectors began strictly enforcing long-unenforced bylaws against its tenants and turning down their business licence applications after it turned down city hall's offer to purchase the park and school site two years earlier.
Jonathan Baker, who served as Dragonwood's lawyer for a time on the case, told the NewsLeader in 2009 he believed residents of a condo development overseeing the site were pressuring the city to get the industrial park off the property.
"It looks as though there was an expectation from [the highrise] tenants they would be overlooking a park and they didn't expect it would be an industrial park," Baker said.
Now it appears an actual neighbourhood park may soon be on the horizon.
The preliminary concept for the site would see the park designed for "both active and passive recreation, children's play and environmental enhancement" with an "improved naturalized riparian corridor for Stickleback Creek," the report said.
The elementary school has been on the Burnaby school district's five-year capital plans in recent years and is needed to serve residents of the growing community of highrises in Brentwood and take pressure off Brentwood Park elementary which is already beyond capacity, district secretary-treasurer Greg Frank told the NewsLeader in May. The district would like the new school to have space initially for 240 students.
Along with completing area streets with sidewalks, boulevards, street lighting, and other usual servicing requirements, the developer will be required to build a new pedestrian and cycling overpass at Beta to connect to the Central Valley Greenway south of the BNSF Rail line as well as an urban trail connection through the site, between Lougheed and Beta, the report said.
As for Dragonwood's ongoing battle with city hall, it won the first round of its court fight, with a 2009 B.C. Supreme Court judgment ordering Burnaby to consider the business licence applications of its tenants "on their merits."
Then earlier this year, the property was sold.
It was perhaps not surprising, considering the value of the land.
According to B.C. Assessment, in 2013 the property at 2316 Beta Ave. was valued at $31.08 million, 4828 Lougheed Hwy. was assessed at $23.22 million, 4756 Lougheed at $5.24 million and 2311 Delta Ave. at $875,000.