Saturday, July 22, 2017

View from Sears rooftop July 21, 2017

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

SE corner of Dawson and Willingdon sold to developer

The southeast corner of Willingdon and Dawson has been sold and will pave the way for another major development that will take it eastward to Alpha Ave and south as far as Alaska Street.

The current Dawson street front is the home to Pasta Amore restaurant and Brentwood Cleaners.  Brentwood Cleaners, originally located at Brentwood Mall until it was forced to move to make way for the the Amazing Brentwood development, will be forced to move again.

8 Acre Brentwood Site Sells in $152 Million Deal

Posted on 

An 8.13 acre land assembly at the corner of Willingdon Avenue and Dawson Avenue has sold to Aoyuan Property Group (Canada), a Hong Kong based developer, for $152,000,000.

The site comprises six parcels, currently improved with various older industrial buildings. The Brentwood Town Centre Plan designates the site a mixture of medium density mixed use and high density residential.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sears seeks protection

Sears has filed for bankruptcy protection.  In doing so, Sears has officially brought urgency to Shape Properties' problem of finding a use for the giant 3-level space at the east end of Brentwood Mall in the event that Sears decides to shut down its Brentwood location.  In good news, the Brentwood location is not among the listed stores slated for closure so far.

Sears Canada files for bankruptcy protection

by Charlie Smith on June 22nd, 2017 at 6:49 AM

One of Canada's major retailers is seeking shelter under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act to restructure its business.

Sears Canada has filed an application to the Ontario Court of Justice to deal with serious cash-flow problems.
In Metro Vancouver the company has department stores at Capilano Mall, Brentwood, Metropolis at Metrotown, Coquitlam Centre, and Willowbrook Shopping Centre.
Across the country, Sears Canada has 95 full-line department stores, 26 home stores, and 14 outlet stores, according to its 2016 annual report. It also has 69 Hometown stores and 62 Sears Travel offices.
The court filing comes less than two weeks after Sears Canada reported a $144-million quarterly loss.
The company put a bright shine on the announcement in a news release on its website.
"Sears Canada rebuilt its front and back-end technology platform, redefined its brand positioning, revamped its product assortment, and rebooted its customer experience and service standards," it stated. "The new product assortment is reflected in two pillars, The Cut @ Sears, which offers designer labels at everyday value prices, and the Sears Label, which offers premium quality and enduring styles, also at everyday value prices.  The customer experience was reinvented, both online, with a newly designed site built in-house by a new technology team, and in-store with a new format called Sears 2.0."
It also claimed that its customer service standards are "best-in-class", noting that it "launched a new store in downtown Toronto to showcase its reinvention to an entirely new audience".
"The Company's hard work to bring its vision to reality is reflected in reported growth in same store sales in its two most recently completed quarters," it added. "Sears Canada believes this indicates that the new brand positioning is starting to resonate with consumers."
Some companies that seek protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act emerge successfully, such as Air Canada. But for others, like Target Canada, filing for bankruptcy protection was one of the steps along the way to its demise.
Under the act, if the application is approved the court will appoint a monitor who is a trustee in bankruptcy. This ensures the company continues operating as it deals with creditors.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Sears' days numbered?

Sears' days may be numbered as the company recently announced that it's future is in doubt.  It's retail model has certainly seemed outdated for at least the past decade.

5 years ago, I walked into the Brentwood location to look for an exercise bike.  After browsing through the multiple exercise bikes on display, I settled on the model and type that suited me.  When I got a hold of a staff member to let them know that I would like to purchase that particular exercise bike, he brought me to the register where I made the purchase.  The staff member asked me for my telephone number, handed me the receipt and told me that they will call me when the bike arrives within  2 weeks and that I can pick it up at their warehouse downstairs. This was done without previously informing me that they don't stock such items in the store.  I was stunned that a store with such a massive footprint just took more than $350 dollars of my hard-earned money only to tell me that I must come back 2 weeks later to pick up my purchase.  Stunned, I didn't complain.  I just walked past the, "60% Off" shirts that were now priced down to $50 dollars (can buy the same shirts at full price for $15-25 elsewhere) and exited the store.  Sears has gotten so comfortable with its retail model that it has lost touch with the reality of consumers living in an economy where wages have fallen far behind the cost of consumer goods, food and housing.  The minimum wage in BC is currently $10.85/hour.  The minimum wage in 1991 was $6.00/hour when you could buy a 700 square foot 1 bedroom condo for $60, 0000.  I digress.

Enough of my experience with a dinosaur of a retailer that has existed long past its extinction date.

Now that Sears is likely to leave a massive void at the east end of Brentwood Mall within the next 1 or 2 years,  Shape Properties is now tasked with the job of deciding the future of the 3-level big-box space.  The current plan for the southeast end of the site at Beta and Lougheed is to build a grocery store beneath a residential tower just across the parking lot from the lowest Sears level.  Perhaps the vacated Sears space is best suited for a grocery store in at least the lowest of the 3 vacated levels. The other 2 levels could be used for 2 or more smaller retailers.  Perhaps a fitness gym/martial arts facility could go into part of the space.

Future of Sears Canada in doubt

by Charlie Smith on June 13th, 2017 at 12:17 PM

Hundreds of employees at Metro Vancouver Sears Canada stores and thousands more across the country are on edge today following the latest bit of bad news.
The company has announced a 15 percent drop in sales in the first quarter, posting a net quarterly loss of $144.4 million.
On the upside, same-store sales rose by 2.9 percent in the first quarter.
Sears Canada has 95 full-line department stores, 26 home stores, and 14 outlet stores, according to its 2016 annual report. It also has 69 Hometown stores and 62 Sears Travel offices.
Its five Lower Mainland department stores are at Capilano Mall, Brentwood, Metropolis at Metrotown, Coquitlam Centre, and Willowbrook Shopping Centre.
It closed its Richmond Centre store more than two years ago.
Sears Canada has postponed its 2017 annual shareholders meeting, which was scheduled for Wednesday (June 14), as it tries to address its "liquidity situation".
"Based on management's current assessment, cash and forecasted cash flows from operations are not expected to be sufficient to meet obligations coming due over the next 12 months," Sears Canada stated in a news release.
It had expected to be able to borrow $175 million (before transaction fees), which would be secured by its owned and leased real estate.
However, negotiations with its lenders have resulted in only $109 million being available.
"That, and the lack of available alternative sources of liquidity (through real estate monetizations, asset sales or otherwise), which may not be available in a timely manner, mean there are material uncertainties as to the Company's ability to continue to satisfy its obligations and implement its business plan in the ordinary course," the company stated. "Accordingly, such conditions raise significant doubt as to the Company's ability to continue as a going concern."

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Willingdon Linear Park video

A reader of this blog shared this link in a previous post on the Willingdon Linear Park.  The video has been produced by the City of Burnaby.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A place to eat pizza; Uncle Fatih's Pizza

This place serves me well when I get the munchies and I want something real quick.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Dawson quietly changing

The immediate vicinity around Dawson is quietly changing while Brentwood continues to receive the bulk of the attention.

Porte Development's tower has now passed street level.

Solterra's Milano tower is beginning
 to rise into the Brentwood skyline.

Milano (below) as seen from the Costco parking lot facing north.
Brentwood One is peeking through just to the left of Milano and
Solo's 2nd tower is on the far left of this photo from this view.

Amacon's low-rise development has reached 
full height at Willingdon Ave and Dawson Street

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Concord Brentwood site prep begins

The last few weeks has seen the most northern section being cleared and prepared for Phase 1 of the Concord Brentwood development.  Phase 1 will see multiple towers rising along the south side of Lougheed Hwy between Beta Ave and Douglas Rd.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Cineplex officially announces Brentwood arrival

Cineplex has officially announced the arrival of the Rec Room to the Entertainment Plaza of the Amazing Brentwood development and will also include a five-screen cinema.  The facility will be a one stop entertainment destination that will include a sports bar, game arcade, and a variety of food amenities.  Now that Cineplex has been announced as a major tenant at Brentwood, more significant commercial announcements are sure to follow over the next few weeks and months.

The links below will lead to the full articles and accompanying photos.

The Rec Room: Cineplex to open sprawling food-and-

by Tammy Kwan on May 16th, 2017 at 1:03 PM

Burnaby’s Brentwood Town Centre is currently undergoing a major transformation—a shopping district, food-and-drink establishments, luxury residential towers, and an entertainment hub are all in the works.

Cineplex announced today that it will be opening B.C.’s first location of the Rec Room at the Amazing Brentwood (4567 Lougheed Highway), with plans to open in 2019.

So what exactly is the Rec Room?

Self-proclaimed as Canada’s premier eats-and-entertainment destination, the 44,000-square-foot space will include various dining concepts, amusement games, virtual reality and race car simulators, ping pong and bowling, live music performances, and a sports bar, among others.
Three10 will be the social spot’s upscale casual restaurant, and its menu will feature Canadian-inspired cuisine and wood-fired pizza.
The Shed will be the Rec Room’s quick service eatery, and will serve items like poutines with toppings such as porchetta, smoked brisket, lobster, and wild mushroom. The Pumps—a custom donut bar—will be available to satisfy sweets-lovers.
Cineplex will also be opening its VIP Cinemas at the Amazing Brentwood, which will span approximately 20,700-square-feet.
The movie theatre will feature five auditoriums, 365 luxury recliners, and a fully-licensed lounge that will serve wines, spirits, and craft beers.
Similar to its other VIP Cinema experiences in the Lower Mainland, guests will be able to order menu items such as burgers, cheese plates, charcuterie boards, and flatbreads at the lounge or have it delivered to their movie seats.
“We are very excited to add our premier entertainment and dining concepts to this dynamic new centre,” said Pat Marshall, vice president communications and investor relations at Cineplex, in a press statement. “The combination of residential homes, shopping, dining and entertainment makes this the ideal destination for British Columbia’s first introduction to The Rec Room, and we know that everyone loves our VIP Cinemas given their tremendous popularity.” 
We don’t know about you, but we definitely have plans to hit up this food and entertainment spot once it opens—the convenience of eats, drinks, games, and movies all under one roof sound very attractive.
Follow Tammy Kwan on Twitter @ch0c0tam and Instagram @ch0c0tam.

The Rec Room - the first in British Columbia - and Cineplex VIP Cinemas to open at The Amazing Brentwood

TORONTOMay 16, 2017 /CNW/ - (TSX: CGX) Cineplex announced today that it plans to open its first British Columbia location of The Rec Room at Shape Properties' The Amazing Brentwood.  Canada's newest hot-spot for 'Eats and Entertainment,' The Rec Room brings together incredible dining experiences with exciting live entertainment and amusement gaming experiences, all under one roof.  
The Amazing Brentwood will also be the new home of a Cineplex VIP Cinemas which provides a movie experience exclusive to Cineplex that features a fully-licensed lounge and licensed auditoriums where guests can relax in luxury recliners and have their food and beverage orders delivered right to their seat.
"We are very excited to add our premier entertainment and dining concepts to this dynamic new centre," said Pat Marshall, Vice President Communications and Investor Relations at Cineplex.  "The combination of residential homes, shopping, dining and entertainment makes this the ideal destination for British Columbia's first introduction to The Rec Room, and we know that everyone loves our VIP Cinemas given their tremendous popularity."
"We are very pleased that Cineplex has chosen The Amazing Brentwood for both of its flagship concepts, including the first location of The Rec Room in BC," said Darren Kwiatkowski, Executive Vice President of Development and Design at Shape Properties.  "The Cineplex VIP Cinema will occupy the top floor of the signature building that floats dramatically above the Plaza, designed specifically for a premium movie experience. The Rec Room is one floor below, and together they will play an integral role in activating The Plaza and The Entertainment Precinct which is designed to be the vibrant public heart of The Amazing Brentwood and the overall Brentwood Town Centre." 
The Amazing Brentwood is located at the corner of Lougheed Highway and Willingdon Avenue, and will be accessible by Skytrain. 
VIP Cinemas:Cineplex VIP Cinemas at The Amazing Brentwood will feature five auditoriums, approximately 365 luxury recliners and will be located on the entertainment level, occupying approximately 20,700 square feet.  VIP Cinemas are a premium movie-going experience exclusive to Cineplex and feature a fully-licensed lounge to enjoy before or after the movie and specially-designed VIP auditoriums where guests can relax in luxury recliners.  VIP Cinema guests can order from an expanded food and beverage menu – which includes a wide selection of wines, spirits and premium craft beers. In addition to Cineplex's famous popcorn, VIP Cinema guests can also select from a menu that features fresh salads, burgers, artisanal cheese plates, charcuterie boards and flatbreads. And all of these items are available in the lounge or can be delivered right to their theatre seat!
The Rec Room:Leveraging Cineplex's expertise in entertainment, operations, amusement gaming, food service, content creation and digital media, The Rec Room at The Amazing Brentwood will include:
  • Three10 - an upscale casual restaurant that is playfully named after Canada's three territories and 10 provinces. Its menu features the best in wood-fired pizza and Canadian-inspired cuisine through familiar items that have been elevated and transformed through fresh ingredients and innovative cooking techniques
  • The Shed - The Rec Room's quick service destination that includes a poutinerie with elevated toppings like porchetta, smoked brisket, lobster and wild mushrooms. It also has a custom donut bar, called The Pumps
  • A bar area where sports fans can grab a drink and catch the game on huge HD screens. In addition to spirits and cocktails, there will also be multiple bars throughout the space serving draught wines and over 20 draught beers, including several local craft beers
  • The Yard - a massive attractions area where guests can play over 100 amusement games. Credits earned are tracked on RFID wristbands and can be redeemed at The Trophy Case redemption store for a wide variety of prizes - everything from retro candy to drones, and whisky stones to portable speakers. Bragging rights go to the top earners who will be profiled on The Rec Room's legendary leaderboard
  • Feature attractions including virtual reality and race car simulators, as well as classic favourites like bowling lanes, air hockey, pool and ping pong
  • With multiple performance spaces offering both live and programmed entertainment, there's always something going on at The Rec Room. Catch an amazing act in our state-of-the-art auditorium or be part of the action at our themed events
  • Multiple private dining rooms will make The Rec Room the ultimate gathering spot for celebrations, corporate events and parties.
In addition to the first location of The Rec Room which is now open in South Edmonton, Cineplex has announced plans for locations in downtown Toronto at Roundhouse Park, and at CF Masonville Place in London and at Square One in Mississauga; also at West Edmonton Mall and at Destination: Deerfoot City in Calgary, AB.
Cineplex plans to open between 10 - 15 new locations of The Rec Room over the coming years, each ranging in size from 40,000-60,000 square feet and customized to the individual community.  The massive, often two-storey entertainment complexes will see approximately half of the space devoted to dining and live entertainment and the other half devoted to amusement games and feature attractions. 
The Rec Room at The Amazing Brentwood will occupy approximately 44,000 square feet and construction is expected to begin later this year with plans to open in 2019.
About The Rec RoomThe Rec Room is Canada's premier 'Eats & Entertainment' destination that brings together incredible dining, amusement gaming, technology and live entertainment experiences all under one roof. Part of Cineplex, The Rec Room is a premier social destination and the ultimate gathering spot for corporate events, groups and parties. While each location is customized to the individual community, The Rec Room concept features multiple dining environments and a wide range of entertainment options including a large amusement games area featuring state-of-the-art simulation, feature attractions and redemption games as well as an auditorium-style space perfect for musical acts, bands and comedians. For more information, visit or follow the action on social media through Facebook (TheRecRoomCA), Twitter (@TheRecRoomCA), Snapchat (@TheRecRoomCA) and Instagram (@TheRecRoomCA).
About CineplexA leading entertainment and media company, Cineplex (TSX: CGX) is a top-tier Canadian brand that operates in the Film Entertainment and Content, Amusement and Leisure, and Media sectors. As Canada's largest and most innovative film exhibitor, Cineplex welcomes 75 million guests annually through its circuit of 164 theatres across the country. Cineplex also operates successful businesses in digital commerce (, food service, alternative programming (Cineplex Events), cinema media (Cineplex Media), digital place-based media (Cineplex Digital Media) and amusement solutions (Player One Amusement Group).  It also operates a location based entertainment business through Canada's newest destination for 'Eats & Entertainment' (The Rec Room), and an online eSports platform for competitive and passionate gamers (  Additionally, Cineplex is a joint venture partner in SCENE, Canada's largest entertainment loyalty program.
Proudly recognized as having one of the country's Most Admired Corporate Cultures, Cineplex employs over 13,000 people in its offices across Canada and the United States.  To learn more visit or download the Cineplex App.
SOURCE Cineplex  
For further information: Media Relations and Investor Relations contact: Pat Marshall Vice President, Communications and Investor Relations,, 416-323-6648

photos below from the

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

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Douglas Tower coming to 2152 Douglas Rd

Imani Development is moving forward to build a highrise tower at the southeast corner of Douglas Rd and Lougheed Hwy.  The sales centre is expected to open in 2018.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

MLA's office gone

Last week, I noticed that Burnaby North MLA Richard Lee's office on Willingdon Ave across the street from Brentwood Mall was gone before yesterday's provincial election.  Last night, he was booted out of office.  Maybe now we have someone that will work and speak for Burnaby North.

Monday, May 8, 2017

May 30 Public Hearing for Concord Brentwood

Concord Brentwood's Phase 1b is set for a public hearing on May 30.  The sites at 4828 / 4874 Lougheed Hwy and at 2099 Delta Ave are the topics of this public hearing.   Phase 1b will include a stairway connecting Lougheed Hwy to Dawson Street and the proposed public park south of Dawson. An elevator is also part of the proposal to make Dawson and the higher-elevated Lougheed Hwy accessible to the physically impaired.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Brentwood Station no longer visible

As Brentwood Two rises, Brentwood Station is no longer visible from the Sears rooftop parking lot.

Solo District's 2nd tower (below) disappears into the clouds on a cloudy overcast day.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

First arcade since Circuit Circus

As a teenager, I regularly patronized the Circuit Circus arcade that used to occupy a space in the back of the old Brentwood Mall.  Now my kids might have an opportunity to experience the enjoyment of hanging around an arcade with friends.  This is the stuff that my kids have never been able to understand even when I've tried to describe the excitement of waiting for your turn to put a coin into an arcade machine to play your favorite game.  It was when we would place our quarter on the machine to let the player know that we were taking the next shot at having our name among the High Scores.  I digress...

Shape Properties is reportedly in talks to bring The Rec Room to the Entertainment Plaza of the Amazing Brentwood Development.  It has gone as far as Burnaby City Council which means that the idea has progressed well beyond just talks between The Rec Room and Shape Properties.  The Rec Room will bring much more entertainment options than the simple arcades of the eighties. But the simplicity of the eighties arcade worked for my generation. No more digressing...  Burnaby Now article below.

 / Burnaby Now
April 11, 2017 03:30 PM

The Brentwood neighbourhood could one day be home to an entertainment venue that includes billiards, a bowling alley, ping pong tables, virtual reality experiences, food and drinks all under one roof.
Shape Properties, the developer of the Amazing Brentwood, is looking to bring The Rec Room to 4501 Lougheed Hwy.
It’s a Cineplex Entertainment concept that took off in Edmonton two years ago as part of a pilot project. The movie company plans to open another 10 to 15 locations across the country over the coming years, ranging in size from 30,000 to 60,000 square feet. The Rec Room in Burnaby would be around 44,300 square feet.
The complex will see half of the space devoted to dining and live entertainment and the other half devoted to amusement games and feature attractions.
“I think this is a pretty new concept here, and I think it’s good we get a lot of information and also find out how it’s working in Edmonton,” said Mayor Derek Corrigan at a council meeting last week.
The proposed hours of liquor service are 9 a.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week, though The Rec Room would normally operate between 11 a.m. and 2 a.m., according to a staff report.
Whether there will be a Cineplex movie theatre is unknown, according to Lou Pelletier, the city’s director of planning and building.
“This particular proposal doesn’t start with the theatres; the theatres are on another level up, and might come from this company or another company in the future,” he said at the meeting.
The Rec Room would be located on the second floor of the west building in Phase 1 of the Brentwood Town Centre redevelopment.
© 2017 Burnaby Now

Friday, April 14, 2017

Which grocery name is next?

With Whole Foods having established itself in the Solo District as the 3rd major grocery store in the Brentwood area after Costco and Save-On-Foods, the question now arises of which grocery store will set up in the Amazing Brentwood location at Beta and Lougheed and later at the Concord Brentwood location on Dawson Street after Loblaw recently announced a store expansion.

Loblaws recently announced an expansion of stores across Canada and Brentwood would certainly make sense although Loblaw already has a foot in the Brentwood area through the recent opening of Shoppers Drug Mart in Solo District.

Loblaws to open 30 new stores in annual expansion

Up to 10,000 jobs could be added, company says, as it spends $1.3B renovating 500 stores

CBC News Posted: Apr 13, 2017 8:38 AM ET Last Updated: Apr 13, 2017 8:38 AM ET

Grocer Loblaw Companies Ltd. plans to spend $1.3 billion renovating 500 stores and opening 30 new ones this year, in an expansion plan that will include more fresh food offering at its Shoppers Drug Mart unit.
The grocery giant has made similar expansion plans in each of the past two years, spending $1.2 billion and adding 50 stores in 2015, and another $1 billion last year to do the same while focusing on upgrading existing locations.
This year's expansion will include "the continued roll out of Click & Collect e-commerce, improved health and wellness services, and the inclusion of fresh food at select Shoppers Drug Mart locations," the company said in a release.
Across all of its retail brands, the company currently has 2,400 locations across Canada.
The company says the expansion could add up to 10,000 retail, trade and construction jobs to its existing workforce of about 200,000 employees.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Willingdon Linear Park debate continues

As the Willingdon Linear Park gets set for construction this summer, the debate over its design continues and will likely continue long after it is built.  The linear park will connect Brentwood to Burnaby Heights between Brentlawn Drive and Hastings Street along the east side of Willingdon Avenue.  Cathy Griffin of HUB Cycling wrote the following piece to the Burnaby Now last month.

OPINION: Willingdon plan lacks vision

 / Burnaby Now
March 24, 2017 09:01 AM

Anyone travelling along Willingdon Avenue in North Burnaby could not have failed to notice that over the years the City of Burnaby has accumulated properties on the east side of Willingdon north of Brentwood mall. The city recently announced its plan to develop this land into what is being called the Willingdon Linear Park: a 1.2-kilometre greenway connecting rapidly growing, high-density Brentwood Town Centre with Hastings Street, Confederation Park and community amenities such as the library, community centre and high school.
There is much to like in the plan, including landscaping, benches and public art; however, there is also a significant flaw. A single path would be shared among people walking (some with mobility aids, strollers, children or dogs) and people cycling. Drivers turning onto and off Willingdon would face cyclists crossing in both directions from a curved path set in landscaping, so potentially hidden from clear view.
Research from UBC has identified shared paths as among the most hazardous types of infrastructure for cycling. Best practices from around the world support separating people walking from those cycling, particularly in an urban environment where there will be many users and there are frequent intersections to cross.
Underlying these design issues is the lack of community consultation. A single open house was held with relatively little notification despite the fact that many thousands of Burnaby citizens will be affected and millions of taxpayer dollars are wrapped up in the project. Not only has the city neglected to adequately consult on this project, it has neglected to acknowledge and address by far the most frequent concern of those who did attend the open house: the safety and suitability of the proposed shared path. The result is a plan that neglects the needs of the people it is intended to serve.
Since 1995, Willingdon Avenue has been identified in the Burnaby Transportation Plan as a commuter cycling route, to be built when adjacent development takes place. Burnaby’s newly adopted Environmental Sustainability Strategy confirms the direction of the transportation plan, calling for making walking and cycling easier, safer and more comfortable, and emphasizes the need for high quality north/south cycling connections. However, the Jan. 17 report recommending the Willingdon Linear Park fails to even acknowledge these. Mayor Corrigan has recently stated Burnaby is developing a new transportation plan.
This is welcome news, and it raises an important question: should we, the citizens of Burnaby, be spending $8 million on a project that not only disregards our current planning policies but is even less likely to meet our new ones? 
Willingdon Avenue represents a wonderful opportunity. Taking a prudent approach and delaying implementation of a final design until the new transportation plan is completed would enable the creation of a state-of-the-art public space: one that includes not only aesthetic enhancements but also the safest and most comfortable accommodation for people walking, cycling and driving on this crucial north/south corridor.

Acting chairperson, Cathy Griffin, Burnaby Committee of HUB Cycling
© 2017 Burnaby Now