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Burnaby scuttles controversial proposal to build waste facility in parkland

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City councillors in Burnaby, B.C., have abandoned a controversial proposal that would have seen parkland paved over for a green recycling and organic waste facility.

During a special meeting Monday, councillors voted unanimously to cancel a public vote on whether to move forward with constructing the facility within Fraser Foreshore Park.

"I'm pleased that city council spoke with one voice in recognition that the public does not support the use of parkland for this project," Mayor Mike Hurley said in a statement.

"We'll continue to explore other locations for this project and will also continue to seek other ways to make rapid progress on climate. We know big, bold moves are needed to achieve our climate action targets."

Officials previously said they had conducted an exhaustive search for lands that would be suitable for the green recycling and organic waste facility, but found nothing else big enough within city limits.

But the proposal to build in Fraser Foreshore Park – which was acquired by Burnaby in 2004 as a wetland habitat – was met with fierce community backlash.

Josh Wong, a member of the SaveFraserForeshorePark campaign, expressed concerns that moving forward with the proposal would set "a precedent for future generations."

"Once a parkland like this is bulldozed over, there's no coming back,” Wong told CTV News last week. “This is one of the most biodiverse parks in Burnaby, which is one of the last standing marshlands situated along the lower Fraser River.”

The public vote was scheduled to take place until April 28, with Burnaby residents able to deliver their ballot by mail or in person. In a news release, the city said it will be issuing notices about the cancellation of the process "as soon as practicable."

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Abigail Turner 

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