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Burnaby’s first and favourite information source Delivery 604-942-3081 • Wednesday, January 30, 2013 Jubilee medals handed out What you need to know about representation agreements PAGE 9 PAGE 16 Your source for local sports, news, weather and entertainment! >> Plan for immigration hub in city languishes City had set aside land, but federal government didn’t show any interest in plan Janaya Fuller Evans staff reporter Larry Wright/burnaby now Unused land: The City of Burnaby was offering this plot of land, at Canada Way and Edmonds, for an immigration hub to help new Canadians. The federal government didn’t take the city up on the offer but is building a service hub in Vancouver. smart enough to understand that this type of model would be very useful for the community,” he said. The Conservative government has cut many essential programs and services, Julian said, adding, “but at the same time, they’re spending $40 billion on F35 fighter jets. “Their priorities are very skewed,” he said. “I think their priorities are very different from the priorities of very practical people in our community.” However, if the Conservatives are ousted in the 2015 election, things might be different, he added. “I think a new government would be taking a really hard look to see if the City of Burnaby is still willing to make the contribution,” Julian said. “I think that would be something a new government would take a real look at.” Coun. Sav Dhaliwal was one of the members of the four-person delegation that went to Ottawa in December 2006 to pres- Your Trusted Neighbourhood Realtor Mandarin ■ English Extensive Overseas Buyer Connections Kane Cheng Personal Real Estate Corporation ROYAL PACIFIC REALTY 10% OFF THE PASTRY BOX BAKERY 7832 6th Street, Burnaby, BC •604-520-3570 imity to (the) Edmonds area, where most newcomers tended to settle,” Dhaliwal wrote, adding the city had approached the provincial government to provide funding for services. “I would think that the city’s offer is off the table since so much time has passed,” Dhaliwal added. “The planning department is developing a new plan for the Edmonds Street and Sixth Street corridor, and I expect the future of that piece of land will be a topic of discussion.” There are not any current plans for the property, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said late last year, noting it is next to the Edmonds Community Centre, where space is rented to non-profits that provide services for immigrants. “Immigration Services is in that building, so is the Afghan Women’s Co-op,” he said, “So there’s a bunch of services that we put into a building that we own now, where we’re subsidizing the rent. We’re Hub Page 4 YOUR AGENT YOURBURNABY LOCAL AGENT PRESENT THIS COUPON FOR ✁ KANE CHENG ■ 778.855-8450 ent the proposal for the multi-service hub to the federal standing committee on citizenship and immigration. “That proposal – multi-service hub – was proposed as one stop-shopping for new immigrants and refugees to guide them in procuring services from the other two orders of government,” Dhaliwal wrote in an email to the NOW. “The Welcome House centre sounds something similar, but I have not seen any details.” The committee never responded to the offer, according to Dhaliwal. “The committee appeared to have interest in the proposal, but nothing ever became of it,” Dhaliwal wrote. “We never heard a word back from the committee. An opportunity to help new Canadians in transitioning to their new home was lost.” The spot at Edmonds Street and Canada Way was picked because of the high concentration of recent immigrants in that area, he added. “The city chose that location for its prox- ✁ The plot of land in south Burnaby was intended to provide refuge for refugees and necessary services to recently arrived immigrants. Instead, it stands vacant while over the border in Vancouver, the Immigrant Services Society of B.C. is building Welcome House, a large service hub for new arrivals. In 2006, the City of Burnaby sent a delegation to Ottawa, offering to contribute 0.85 acres of land – which was valued at $2.4 million in 2005 – for an immigration hub in the city, according to a city staff report. In turn, the city asked that the federal government contribute $11.5 million for construction costs. “The City of Burnaby was very, very generous in offering prime land in the heart of what is the most diverse area of the entire country,” Burnaby-New Westminster MP Peter Julian said in a phone interview with the NOW. The Edmonds location would have been an ideal spot for such a project, he said. “If you draw a line from the Fraser River down to Deer Lake, you’ve got 100 languages spoken in a very, very small area of territory,” Julian said. “That’s a level of diversity we don’t see anywhere else in the country.” Constituents have said there aren’t enough resources, such as English language programs, for immigrants, according to Julian, whose Sixth Street office is not far from the proposed site. “There’s no doubt the need is there,” he said, adding it can be frustrating for people who have recently arrived in the area. “They want to be up and running and contributing as much as possible, and yet, the services aren’t necessarily there,” he said. But building such a facility in Burnaby would likely require a change of federal government, the New Democrat MP added. “We just need a government that is BRIAN VIDAS 604.671.5259 2009-2011 Brian Vidas Personal Real Estate Corporation 3010 Boundary Road, Burnaby www. centre realty

Burnaby Now January 30 2013

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