News

Brentwood master plan approved

The master plan for the redevelopment of Brentwood Town Centre has been given approval in principle by Burnaby council.

According to a city staff report, 91 written submissions about the plan were received by city hall, of which 66 expressed support and 25 had concerns or wanted more information. Of the 27 speakers at the public hearing, 16 were in support, five were opposed and six were undecided but had questions.

The report addressed a number of the issues raised, explaining that fewer, taller towers were most suitable for the mall site.

"Given the site's approximately 11.3 hectares (28 acres) of area, and an average tower site being in the range of 1.3 acres in size, the site could potentially yield approximately 22 residential towers, albeit lower and likely bulkier," the report said.

"However, this form of development is not supported as it would result in substantially less open space, increased shadowing, greater view obstruction and reduced separation between buildings."

Instead, the conceptual master plan proposes 11 residential towers, and two office buildings. The two tallest towers would be at the corner of Willingdon Avenue and Lougheed Highway and others would be shorter the closer they are to the single-family neighbourhood to the north.

"Furthermore, no additional residential towers, beyond the 11 proposed, will be permitted under the master plan."

Parking will be located mainly underground and there will be seven access points to the site for traffic, including Willingdon north of Halifax Street, and Lougheed between Alpha and Beta avenues.

The developer, mall owner Shape Properties, has been "required to relocate the existing northern driveway off Beta Avenue further south, to minimize potential conflicts with the adjacent residential area," the report said. And there will be no direct access to underground parking from Beta to limit traffic.

As part of the first phase of development, a one-acre public plaza will be built as a venue for public gatherings and contributions to city hall through its density bonus program will be used to fund area amenities.

While council approved the master plan, each individual phase of development will require its own rezoning process, including detailed transportation studies and a public hearing.

Coun. Pietro Calendino said at Monday's council meeting that city staff and the developer need to ensure there is no spillover of traffic into the surrounding neighbourhood, particularly streets such as Fairlawn, Brentlawn and Ridgelawn drives.

As for the proposed taller, slimmer buildings, Calendino was supportive, noting that on a recent visit to Croatia, he saw huge buildings of 200 feet long and 22 storeys tall. "That's a neverending building, not the type of thing I'd like to see in Burnaby."

Coun. Dan Johnston, who grew up in the Brentwood area, said he was surprised to hear the conservative neighbourhood endorse change.

When completed, the project will remove acres of blacktop and replace it with towers and notably, with greenspace, "something this site has been sorely lacking in 40 years."

While the project will be further fleshed out as each phase is developed, Mayor Derek Corrigan said, the community has given the master plan "a pretty ringing endorsement as a first stage."

wchow@burnabynewsleader.com

twitter.com/WandaChow

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