Redevelopment of Intercity Motel will help clean up neighbourhood

Diane Gillis, the president of the Kingsway Imperial Neighbourhood Association, says she
Diane Gillis, the president of the Kingsway Imperial Neighbourhood Association, says she's pleased the new owner of two properties at the corner of Kingway and Gilley has applied rezone them to allow him to build a four-story mixed commercial and residential complex. She says the Intercity Motel has been a cauldron for crime for years, and the two fast food restaurants that occupy part of the property have become an eyesore with overgrown weeds.

It could soon be lights out for the notorious Intercity Motel on Kingsway.

The owner of the motel's property and the adjacent lot occupied by a Pizza Hut and Church's Chicken takeout restaurants as well as a dry cleaner has applied to the City of Burnaby for rezoning to build a four-storey residential and commercial development that would include 101 condominium apartments above and behind ground-level retail shops.

The application will go to a public hearing to be held on Sept. 30.

Diane Gillis, the president of the Kingsway-Imperial Neighbourhood Associaton, said the area has been eagerly anticipating redevelopment of the properties for years.

She said the motel has been a cauldron for crime and the sex trade, and the overgrown lots around the neighbouring restaurants are an eyesore.

"When you have a spot that requires so much oversight by authorities, it's really quite surprising that some of the activity continued," said Gillis who said the problems persisted despite numerous meetings with the city and RCMP to find ways to clean the properties up.

In 2012 the properties were bought by Kevin Rakhra, a resident of the neighbourhood, who, Gillis said, was fed up with all the problems.

She said having a development the community can be proud of is especially important, as the site is considered the eastern gateway to the Royal Oak Urban Village, as part of the overall Royal Oak Community Plan updated by the city in March.

Having a local owner means that's likely to happen.

"They're a part of the community, they're aware of the problems," said Gillis. "They're impacted by the very behaviours that are causing problems."

The proposed ground floor retail will increase foot traffic in the area while the residents of the condos will work to maintain the integrity of their homes, she added.

"Residential people will be invested in the community," said Gillis. "They'll care about their influence on the neighbourhood around them."


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