Letter: Six-storey project too big for our New West street

Editor:

Re: New Westminster considers affordable housing project in Glenbrook North, Record News

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This proposed high-density development is so far off the mark that it cannot be taken seriously unless, of course, it has an ulterior motive.

Consider the following:

1. A mere four years ago, the city launched an aggressive OCP campaign to try and convince our 5th and 6th Street residents to accept their proposed density change from the existing RS1 density of six units per acre to infill townhouse of 12 units per acre (four units on two standard lots).

2. On Oct. 28, 2016, we served the city with a petition signed by 90% of the residents categorically rejecting this change. The split between the two streets was 92% rejection on 5th street and 83% rejection on 6th street.

3. The city then proceeded to abandon the 5th Street designation, tried to unload it on Colborne Street (which also failed by their petition) but kept the 12-units-per-acre designation on 6th Street.

With this in mind, how is it possible that the minions in the planning department have the audacity to encourage a (so-called) developer “society” to submit even an informal proposal that demands 96 units per acre.

So much for their shallow statements of using a very expensive OCP process to guide future development. This proves, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the OCP is nothing more than a smoke screen to cover up their real objective, which is to rezone anything they please so they can get their hands on the five-fold increases in property taxes that such high density gives them.

They simply don’t care about the quality-of-life consequences to the immediate neighbourhood for the simple reason that they don’t live here. Well, we do and we know how to defend our legal and democratic rights. We`ve done it before and we will do it again if necessary.

Make no mistake about that. The stakes are extremely high because if this kind of totalitarian arrogance can be allowed to prevail, it will set a very dangerous precedent that will eventually spread like a virus to every other residential neighborhood in this city. No one is immune, so get involved people.  

Obviously this kind of development does not belong in any low-density residential neighbourhood in this city. It may belong in undervalued and underutilized property such as 12th Street, Columbia Street, Queensborough etc., where the net effect on the existing neighbourhood is not a blight, but an improvement.

By way of comparison, our 700 to 900 block of 5th and 6th Street has built a total of 17 new houses (either entire structures or major renovations) in the past decade. This is precisely what the original planners of this city had in mind and there is absolutely no reason why it cannot continue indefinitely.

If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. 

Ken and Susan Dextras, New Westminster

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