Burnaby NewsLeader - Letter from BC ACORN member: Burnaby city council can do more for affordable housing

Posted April 1, 2014

As a renter in Burnaby I’m concerned about the continued emergence of gigantic housing developments like the one at Brentwood that do not serve the average person.
If I were to speak with Burnaby city council, I’d ask if they had any commitment to social or low-income housing, or are they moving headlong to gentrification?
Regarding this, a reported $427 million in building permits was handed out by council in just the first six months of last year. So it follows that city council should have some resources to address the need for more housing in this city.
It is high time Burnaby council showed some initiative on this issue.
Next door, Vancouver council is willing to face up to its housing needs. On Feb. 28, Vancouver council announced the $1 billion Downtown Eastside Enhancement plan that will result in 3,400 social housing units. Meanwhile, Burnaby council regularly grants extremely lucrative profit-making opportunities to developers.
The care extended to Cressey Developments in Edmonds and others must result in some positive benefit to our city.
Toronto has succeeded in linking the granting of development permits with community benefits for its citizens. Shouldn’t Burnaby citizens receive some community benefits as well?
What council needs to do is finally stand up and show some leadership by making a start on dealing with the need for low income and social housing here. Obviously, we don’t have a very progressive provincial government at the moment, but it’s the only one we’ve got.
Council needs to get out in front of the province, make a start, then phone Housing Minister Rich Coleman and give him a chance to get the province involved.
The housing needs of renters in this city are both serious and great.
There must be an affordable option for low income renters, or this housing crisis will get worse, especially if council continues sitting on its hands, pretending there is no problem.
Rick Erb
Letter by BC ACORN member Rick Erb to the Burnaby Newsleader