Thursday, April 3, 2014

Opinions on Brentwood Mall Redevelopment

As the east wing of Brentwood Mall is being boarded up down the middle between the recently-closed IHOP and the former SportMart in preparation for Phase 1 of the Brentwood Mall Redevelopment, a variety of opinions are being expressed in the local media by local residents, politicians and news people themselves.

The following are some of the varying opinions on the upcoming BMR.

From BCIT Broadcast News

Brentwood Construction

Brentwood Mall expansion a growing pain for nearby residents.

Matthew Senf is a resident of the area and also a home renovator, so he sees the appeal of improving the area, but is already seeing changes.

“we brought a delegation to the traffic and safety committee about the volume and aggressiveness of the traffic on our street.

“We have noticed it increasing in the last few years so i imagine when this is complete it’s going to be ridiculous.”

Senf also wonders about the parking plans at Brentwood. He says he is worried about all of the new vehicles coming into the area without adequate space.

“our concern is they’re putting a couple thousand new homes in, and to think that everyone is going to take the sky train is ridiculous.”

“Where are they going to put all these cars? They say it’s not going to affect one of the old estestablished residential neighbourhoods in Burnaby right here, and that is ludicrous and irresponsible.”

Casual Brenwtood Mall shopper Tim only parks once a month and notices the difference every time he comes back and says “its definitely a lot busier.” He also mentioned how he has to park on the outskirts of the lot just to find parking and that it takes him about five minutes longer to do so.

Forty year Burnaby resident Rosa Davis says her problem is not with the parking. 

“I never have a problem with the parking, and the amount of people in the stores is about the same.”

Her disappointment comes from the expansion of homes and apartment towers in the area. 

“I’m not optimistic about development, we are high rising ourselves to death, wheres our green.”

While brentwood’s plans are exciting and potentially prosperous to the area, Senf believes they are focusing on brentwood and ignoring the surrounding areas.

“If you look at the development schematics they’ve come out with theres a brightly coloured area which is right here (brentwood) and everything on the outlying area is like whatever, good luck.”

From a commercial standpoint however, he is quite supportive of the process.

“We’re quite pro of the development in terms of there is a responsible sense of planning in terms of making a hub around a transportation area, thats good planning on their part.”

“The commercial development is going to (be) great, it’s beautiful..but if they could make it so they protect these established neighbourhoods that would show a real sort of leadership and responsibility in terms of civic planning.”

(from Burnaby Now letters)

Brace for the 'uglyfication' of Burnaby

Bill Gruenthal / Burnaby Now
March 4, 2014 10:36 AM

Dear Editor:

Re: Skyscraper stirs debate, Burnbay NOW, Feb. 28.
I totally agree with Barry and Gloria MacDonald, whose concern is the increased traffic and population in and around Brentwood with its planned massive expansion. We moved into the area for its almost rural-type and serene living - no longer.
Since this ridiculous expansion is a fait accompli, seems to me that no prior arrangements have been made for schools, hospitals, police and roads to handle the accumulation of new people not only in Brentwood but also the surrounding areas, including the now-being-built Solo structures; bear in mind also that same type of development is planned for the Lougheed Town Centre area. The mayor is talking about bike paths and "maybe" a park and community centre.
Call it "the uglyfication" of Burnaby.
Bill Gruenthal, Burnaby
© Burnaby Now

Hold on with plans

Burnaby Now
March 25, 2014 04:36 PM

Dear Editor:

As demonstrated during my time as a Burnaby city councillor, I am generally supportive of high-density development near SkyTrain stations.
However I am becoming increasingly concerned about the effect that the proposed eleven highrise redevelopment for Brentwood will have on the transportation infrastructure.
Both the SkyTrain line and the road infrastructure at Lougheed Highway and Willingdon Avenue are stretched to capacity, or beyond, during peak periods. 
I assume that perhaps 5,000 new residents will be added as a result of the proposed development and most of them will own automobiles. The existing road network and SkyTrain line simply can’t handle such an increase. 
I don’t think it is possible to increase SkyTrain capacity very much during rush hours and the city’s current expansion work on Willingdon is woefully inadequate.
In my opinion, the Brentwood redevelopment plan should be put on hold until such time as the city is able to demonstrate that it has, in place, a realistic plan for dealing with the increase in vehicular traffic that will result from the development.
Garth Evans, Burnaby
© Burnaby Now

(from Letters to the editor Burnaby NewsLeader)

Burnaby city council can do more for affordable housing

posted Apr 1, 2014 at 11:00 AM

As a renter in Burnaby I’m concerned about the continued emergence of gigantic housing developments like the one at Brentwood that do not serve the average person.

If I were to speak with Burnaby city council, I’d ask if they had any commitment to social or low-income housing, or are they moving headlong to gentrification?
Regarding this, a reported $427 million in building permits was handed out by council in just the first six months of last year. So it follows that city council should have some resources to address the need for more housing in this city.
It is high time Burnaby council showed some initiative on this issue.
Next door, Vancouver council is willing to face up to its housing needs. On Feb. 28, Vancouver council announced the $1 billion Downtown Eastside Enhancement plan that will result in 3,400 social housing units. Meanwhile, Burnaby council regularly grants extremely lucrative profit-making opportunities to developers.
The care extended to Cressey Developments in Edmonds and others must result in some positive benefit to our city.
Toronto has succeeded in linking the granting of development permits with community benefits for its citizens. Shouldn’t Burnaby citizens receive some community benefits as well?
What council needs to do is finally stand up and show some leadership by making a start on dealing with the need for low income and social housing here. Obviously, we don’t have a very progressive provincial government at the moment, but it’s the only one we’ve got.
Council needs to get out in front of the province, make a start, then phone Housing Minister Rich Coleman and give him a chance to get the province involved.
The housing needs of renters in this city are both serious and great.
There must be an affordable option for low income renters, or this housing crisis will get worse, especially if council continues sitting on its hands, pretending there is no problem.
Rick Erb

(from Letters to the Editor Burnaby NewsLeader)

Changes to allow Burnaby's towers should (be) clearly spelled out

In one breath, a rezoning for a 53-storey tower in Brentwood is tabled “in response to issues raised at a public hearing.”
In the next, the city is taking out full-page advertisements saying, “citizens endorsed the concept” more than 20 years ago. Citizens have never had the opportunity to “endorse” the “s-zoning” bylaw that was quietly passed in December 2010. In fact, the minutes of the council meeting clearly show there was no discussion whatsoever.
Perhaps this is because nobody, except a few councillors and developers, understood what “text amendment to a bylaw respecting bonus density” actually meant.
A more honest title would be, “an amendment to a bylaw that will allow an additional 10 to 40 storeys to any new towers in the city.”
To borrow a word from Mayor Derek Corrigan’s extensive lexicon, what the city has done is “disingenuous.”
Fortunately, what the the mayor and council have done can be undone.
Repeal the bylaw, or place a moratorium on its use until it can be put to a referendum with a clear choice.
Rick McGowan

COLUMN: Smart, dense cities like ours are changing the world

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about density.
As towers soar to new heights in Metrotown,Brentwood and Downtown New Westminster, there’s been much talk about how our cities are changing.
In Burnaby, suburban malls are evolving into urban town centres. Upcoming changes at Brentwood, in particular, will shift that neighbourhood’s evolution into high gear.
And Lougheed is poised to follow.
The shift to high density results in losses, of course.
Lost views. The character of neighbourhoods change.
And there’s much to debate along the way. How high is too high? How dense too dense? And are developers doling out enough cash to fund the parks and daycares these new residents will require?
Good questions.
But as a concept, density in its best form—smart growth—is changing the world for the better. And we’re lucky to have a front-row seat.
Next door, Vancouver is becoming the City of the Future. Its dense, livable downtown — captured in the term “Vancouverism” — is the envy of city planners the world over.
A dense, well-designed city leads with great social spaces makes it easier to lead a happy, healthy, earth-friendly life.
And Vancouver is the poster child for the campaign.
Thankfully, its closest neighbours Burnaby and New Westminster aren’t far behind.
It’s astounding how many positive impacts come from building smart, compact cities.
From an economic perspective, dense cities are magnets.
Lively, active streets are where people want to be. We’re drawn to energetic cities that are walkable, well-served by transit with a mix of people.
TEDx talk: This short talk from Gil Penalosa of 8-80 Cities sums up the idea of sustainable urbanism wonderfully.

Employers want to set up offices in these vibrant cities. Tourists love to visit. Go to Dallas-Fort Worth or New York? Depends—do you want sprawl or to have it all?
Then there’s health—physical and mental.

The larger population base supports grocery stores, retail and restaurants nearby. Complemented by sidewalks, paths and well-established bike routes, people have healthy options to get to work and around town. Fewer car trips means more exercise, fewer hours in traffic means we’re fitter and mellower.
In a nutshell, we’re building cities for people again, not cars.
In his book, The Happy City, Charles Montgomery says it well:
“Why would travelling more slowly and using more effort offer more satisfaction than driving? Part of the answer exists in basic human physiology. We were born to move. Immobility is to the human body what rust is to the classic car. Stop moving long enough, and your muscles will atrophy. Bones will weaken. Blood will clot. You will find it harder to concentrate and solve problems. Immobility is not merely a state closer to death: it hastens it.”
Oh—and let’s not forget the impact on the pocketbook. In downtown Vancouver these days, it’s common to find residents who don’t own a car. My friend at the edge of Gastown almost never drives. New developments downtown need to provide fewer parking spaces.
Since 2006, vehicle trips into Vancouver’s core have actually dropped more than 20 per cent even as population has grown.
For every person who opts not to have a car, they save about $10,000 annually on vehicle costs.
And in the larger sense, of course, it’s good for the earth.
Tighter cities, fewer cars, and more transit is very green.
With luck, Vancouver’s approach will get exported around the world.
Meantime, locally, Burnaby and New Westminster are next in line.
Some say things are getting too dense, too fast.
Me, I think we can move faster. As long as we’re smart about how we densify, it’s all good.
• Chris Bryan is editor of the NewsLeader.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Destination Toyota looking to make way for development

Destination Toyota on the corner of Lougheed Hwy and Madison Ave has placed its property on sale.   It was just a matter of time before it followed suit like Morrey Nissan which had earlier moved to Still Creek to make room for Solo District at the corner of Willingdon Ave and Lougheed Hwy.  Speaking of Morrey, the site at Sill Creek will see a comeback by Morrey Infinity which had closed down on the north side of Lougheed Hwy to make room for the developments that went in there a few years ago.

According to the last City of Burnaby Council meeting, Destination Toyota will move into the Still Creek Auto Mall.

Item ............................................................. 08 Meeting ....................................2014 March 24
REZONING REFERENCE #14-08 Proposed Revision To Phase 1 Automobile Dealership Building
4451 Still Creek Drive (see attached sketches) Lot 4, D.L.'s 70 & 119, Group 1, NWD Plan BCP25458
CD Comprehensive Development District (based on Ml Manufacturing District, M5 Light Industrial District and Cl Neighbourhood Commercial District)
Amended CD Comprehensive Development District (based on Ml Manufacturing District, M5 Light Industrial District and Cl Neighbourhood Commercial District and in accordance with the development plan entitled "Burnaby AutomaII Phase 1 Toyota Dealership 4451 StilI Creek Development" prepared by CEI Architecture)
APPLICANT: CEI Architecture 500 - 1500 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6G 2Z6 (Attention: John Scott)
To seek Council authorization to forward this application to a Public Hearing on 2014 April 29.

(The following is from Colliers Canada's site)

UNDER CONTRACT: HIGH DENSITY Residential development opportunity

4278 Lougheed Highway, Burnaby


For Sale
Land Area: 94,532.00 SF.    Available Areas: 1.00 SF to 472,626.00 SF.    


Rare opportunity to acquire a large-scale high density residential transit-oriented development site in the Brentwood Town Centre area of Burnaby. The property encompasses a 2.17 acre site with approximately 245 feet of frontage along Lougheed Highway and 395 feet along Madison Avenue. The property is close proximity to schools, universities, shopping, dining and the Brentwood Sky Train Station, providing access throughout Metro Vancouver.

The Property contains a concrete block building and glass showroom area with underground parking. Based on documentation provided to us, the Toyota showroom facility has an area of 21,010 SF and the body shop has an area of 14,604 SF. Much of the balance of the site comprises asphalt paved parking lot which appears to be in good condition. Access to the property is provided from Madison Avenue by way of two-way driveway situated approximately 200 feet south of Lougheed Highway.

The Property falls in the Brentwood Neighbourhood Plan within the Burnaby Official Community Plan. Base density for the Property is 2.2 FSR with the ability to purchase
additional density up to 2.6 FSR. The Property is also eligible for the “S” zoning which permits a base density of 3.4 with the ability to purchase additional density up to 5.0 FSR. Commercial density could potentially be added above the 5.0 FSR of residential depending on form, design and market demand.


  • 2.17 acre site with 245 feet frontage along Lougheed Highway and 395 feet along Madison Avenue
  • Area "S" zoning provides potential of 5.0 FSR or 472,626 SF residential buildable area
  • Highly coveted Brentwood location in close proximity to schools, universities, shopping, and SkyTrain
  • Sale lease-back situation with an opportunity to build a mixed-use project
  • Anchors one of Burnaby/Vancouver’s most prominent retail corridors - a bona fide landmark development opportunity
  • Extensively serviced by the SkyTrain and high-volume bus routes connecting throughout Metro Vancouver.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Background for current and future Brentwood developments

The following 2003 report by Avison Young provides a background to the current construction boom in and around Brentwood and mentions the factors that may affect the rate of development.

(view through above link or by zooming into this page)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Development coming to Gilmore Station

Recently signs have been erected on either side of Gilmore Station by The Onni Group.  The website for Onni ( indicates that a new development is to come in the future.  According to what I've heard, the project may involve construction on either side of the station and maybe even above it.  That would mean that the site of Gold's Gym will be torn down to make room for the project.  The development would then extend over the station and continue until the southeast corner of Lougheed Hwy and Gilmore Ave where an empty lot currently sits.

An article below the first 2 photographs provides a brief timeline of the project so far.  The photograph below that article showing an overhead view of the site does not belong to this blog.

Article and photo below from

Onni Acquires Gilmore Site in Burnaby