I am wholeheartedly in favour of council moving forward with new development on 12th Street in New West. I've lived in the area for five years and the neighbourhood is looking very shabby.
It is ripe for development, however council needs to keep three things in mind when it approves new projects:
1) Make sure existing residents and businesses are not pushed out of the neighbourhood by more million-dollar condos. We already have enough of those downtown - enough to last several generations. That sort of development may be very welcoming to new people, if all you want do is to grow the population, but it’s not supporting our existing population. Overpriced rental accommodation is no help either.
2) Increase the street setback for all new developments. So far, all the new buildings on 12th have built right up to the existing sidewalks. Council might want to widen 12th Street someday - perhaps they should leave a little extra room for that while they still have the chance. Considering that 12th comes right off of Kingsway in Burnaby and converges with New West’s de-facto truck freeway on 10th Avenue, future traffic demands are sure to impact the neighbourhood. Twelfth Street also offers an easy connection to Stewardson Way and the bridges and highways beyond. Two huge new developments currently underway in Burnaby (Southgate and Cedar Creek) are both very close to the border with New West and are sure to impact the amount of traffic moving though our community. City council needs to plan for these things today - don’t wait until there are condos built right up to the sidewalk, leaving no space for street expansion. Be proactive, not reactive.
3) Street parking is already at a premium on 12th, so council had better plan for future parking needs with any new development, especially if they are considering street-level retail. Currently, with parkers on either side of the street, 12th is barely wide enough for a bus and SUV to safely pass by each other. I know council has this golden dream that there will never be any cars in the neighbourhoods of the future, but get real people, until someone invents a “transporter,” out of Star Trek, we are going to have cars. They might be electric, but they will still be here. Deal with it.
Betty Gray, New Westminster