Southgate plan to go to public hearing

The master plan for the proposed new Southgate community will go to a public hearing on Sept. 30.

The community is to be built on a 48-acre site that used to be a Safeway distribution centre, an area bounded by 15th and 18th streets, between 11th and 14th avenues in Edmonds.

The development vision is to eventually comprise different forms of housing, including up to 20 towers ranging in height from 19 to 46 storeys. The plan also includes a five-acre park that will be owned and operated by the city.

Coun. Nick Volkow, who drove truck out of the distribution centre for 38 years, said he's excited about the future development of the site.

"I know the history of that site when it was vacant land in 1957," said Volkow. "It's an exciting time for the southeast corner of Burnaby."

In a preliminary concept plan by architects IBI Group and PWL Partnership that was presented at an open house in June, the site will be transformed into five complete neighbourhoods clustered around the central park, which also includes a 20,000 square-foot community building.

Up to 200,000 feet of commercial space along 16th Street and Southgate Crescent would service the neighbourhoods.

Coun. Sav Dhaliwal said the proposed development is already creating a buzz in the nearby Edmonds area.

"By the time it is finished, a great vision will have been presented," he said.

Coun. Pietro Calendino called the plan "a city within a city. It's getting quite exciting to see Burnaby's coming of age as a real city."

But Coun. Colleen Jordan cautioned the project still has a long way to go before it's fully realized, and each phase will be subject to rezoning and a full public hearing.

"This is a significant piece of land in our city and a significant change in how that land is used," said Jordan.

Mayor Derek Corrigan said it's important the new development integrate with the existing neighbourhood.

"It has to make everyone around it feel like it was an addition to the neighbourhood," said Corrigan.

Full development of the Southgate community will likely take 15 to 20 years.


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