Burnaby ACORN continues to fight Metrotown Development Plan Update

Posted November 25, 2016

The Metrotown Development Update Plan will destroy nearly three thousand affordable rental units in the Metrotown neighbourhood, resulting in the demoviction of over 8000 tenants, who already are facing class, race, age and ability marginalization. Burnaby ACORN has been fighting this impending mass displacement since the introduction of the plan last spring, and as Council pushed forward the project on Monday night, ACORN was there to speak out against it. Despite City Council refusing to meet with ACORN, members would not be silenced and instead gave a presentation to council directly. 
BC ACORN remains steadfast in our demand that the City of Burnaby immediately stop re-zonings that result in the destruction of existing purpose built rental stock.
Council approved a report that was compiled based on four months of inadequate and unsuccessful "public" consultation on their first draft of the plan update. This report proves that the initial issues that BC ACORN had with the consultation process are justified. The “public” consultation did not prioritize renters from the Metrotown neighbourhood, who stand to be displaced from this plan, consultation was too short and poorly timed, the onus was on individuals to seek out the consultation, and the process discriminated against ESL and low-income tenants. The city planners found these assertions were valid, as only 1/1000 people in all of Burnaby completed the survey on the plan update. Those who did fill out the survey spoke loudly though, and expressed concerns about impending displacement, and cautioned against high density zoning. Survey respondents also drew attention to the ineffective consultation process. 
The Metrotown Development Plan Update in particular targets the Maywood neighbourhood, which is one of the most vulnerable areas of not just Burnaby, but all of Metro Vancouver. Residents are generally low-income tenants who also face race, age and disability discrimination. ACORN urges the city of Burnaby to look to New Westminster’s Secured Market Rental Housing Policy, which mandates that properties which contain purpose-built rental housing will not be re-zoned to higher density developments or variances to increase the building height.
The following night, ACORN members returned to City Hall for a public hearing regarding four affordable rental buildings that stand to be torn down and converted to a luxury 36 storey condo, speaking out against the harsh re-zoning. After nearly two and half hours of residents condemning the re-zoning, the message heard was loud and clear: stop re-zoning affordable rental buildings, and instead be accountable and fair to all citizens of Burnaby, not just the wealthiest 1%.