Council endorses Sixth Street Community Plan

Burnaby Coun. Pietro Calendino -
Burnaby Coun. Pietro Calendino
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The stage is set for the revitalization of the area around Edmonds and Sixth streets after council endorsed changes to the Sixth Street Community Plan on Monday.

Of the 48 comment forms submitted by area residents and businesses, 41 were in support of the proposal and seven were not, said a city staff report.

The original plan was first adopted in 1982 and covers the area along Edmonds from Canada Way to Sixth Street, and along Sixth from Edmonds to Tenth Avenue. The amendments call for more housing (1,500 units instead of 288) and less commercial space (620,000 square feet instead of 730,000 square feet) than in the earlier version.

The new plan designates Edmonds, and Sixth between Edmonds and Graham Avenue, as a village street with four-storey buildings containing retail, restaurants and commercial space on the ground level with housing above. Currently, the zoning doesn't permit general retail and instead encourages automotive-oriented businesses, a situation that will change under the new plan.

Neighbourhood hubs for businesses would be created on Sixth between 16th and 14th avenues, to serve the daily needs of area residents, and between 10th and 12th avenues, to serve a wider area with offices and commercial space.

To provide residents to support the neighbourhood businesses, medium-density projects, such as rowhouses, stacked townhouses and low-rise apartments, are proposed over the long term for Sixth between 19th and 16th avenues and between 14th and 12th avenues.

Among the concerns raised were whether the type of development to be allowed on Wedgewood Street would overshadow nearby houses and duplexes.

Under the plan, the buildings fronting Edmonds would be a maximum four storeys high, stepping down to townhouses between two and three storeys tall along Wedgewood, the report said.

As for concerns about traffic, the road network, transit system and opportunities for alternative modes of travel are "considered suitable" and "the continued opportunity for on-street parking would also serve to calm commuter speeds and through traffic movements in this mixed commercial and residential area."

In response to parking concerns, the report noted that any new development would be required to provide adequate parking, preventing any substantial impact on on-street parking in the area.

"If we're going to have a commercial street we need to have the population density to support businesses that are there," said Coun. Pietro Calendino.

He noted that commercial uses are limited to certain areas along Sixth Street to help keep viable any businesses that do locate there. "I think the neighbourhood was happy with that."

Coun. Dan Johnston said in speaking with residents they expressed comfort  with the scale of development that will be allowed.

"It's not so grandiose that people living in the neighbourhood are  going to feel they're being swallowed by highrises."

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