The City of Burnaby has approved the Metrotown downtown plan — a proposal that includes densifying the city centre — despite an attempt by activists to storm the meeting and delay the vote.
On Monday night, a group of protesters entered the city hall chambers carrying signs and chanting. They continued until members of council left the room and the Burnaby RCMP was called to the meeting.
The protest group eventually left the chambers. Council resumed its meeting and voted to approve the controversial project.
Activists want more affordable housing
The city says it anticipates approximately 125,000 new people will call Burnaby home by 2041 and the plan is to create a high-density downtown core in the Metrotown area.
The plan will see an increase in high-density mixed use buildings.
Activists claim this will lead to so-called "demovictions" — tenants being evicted because of buildings being demolished. They argue there is a lack of affordable housing in the City of Burnaby and that this plan will make the situation worse.
"This is the community intervening in the city's plan to displace these 3,000 units — displace 6,000 people," said Ivan Drury, an activist and one of the protesters at Monday night's meeting.
Earlier this month, protesters occupied a Burnaby apartment that is slated for demolition. On July 20, police cleared out the building after the development company that owns it received a court injunction to remove the group.
Proposal can include affordable housing, says councillor
The city says it needs to increase its density and the Metrotown Plan can include affordable housing.
"This plan only talks about the basic land use. All of those other opportunities now can be layered on top of that," said Coun. Colleen Jordan
Jordan said the lack of affordable housing is not an issue specific to Burnaby, but rather the region. She said her hope is that the new provincial government will help them create affordable housing as part of the Metrotown downtown plan.
"I think it's really my hope that the new government will be able to work with us and do projects in that area that will allow for the development of affordable housing."