It could be a cornerstone development in the growing Maillardville neighbourhood.
Two vacant lots on Brunette Avenue near Mackin Park may be transformed into a six-storey apartment building, following Coquitlam’s unanimous decision June 20 to send the project to a public hearing.
The development is set to include 166 non-market rental homes overtop of ground level commercial space facing both Brunette and Nelson Street.
“This will make a huge difference,” said Coun. Chris Wilson, calling the project “fabulous.”
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Owned by Vancity Credit Union, the boomerang-shaped property was once earmarked for a future credit union, according to Mayor Richard Stewart.
“I’m tempted to ask where the credit union goes,” Stewart mused. The mayor’s musing prompted Wilson to recall a previous meeting with Vancity representatives in which Stewart was disappointed while Wilson was “ecstatic.”
“I used the word: ‘renege,’” Stewart recalled.
The project includes 17 three-bedroom units as well as eight “Employment Living” units designed for small-scale business opportunities.
Before any shovels can sink in the ground, the project receive third reading from council following a public hearing as well as one additional vote granting final approval.
The development also includes nearly 8,000 square feet of outdoor space that’s set to include a playground and barbecue grills.
The project is set to include 184 parking stalls.
Cash on the table
If approved, the developer, Catalyst Community Development Society, would be on the hook for $2.13 million in development cost charges.
In the neighbourhood
The Brunette Avenue project is part of a larger plan – passed in 2014 and most recently updated in 2021 – to add about 6,000 residents to Maillardville in the span of two decades.
A seven-storey, 123-unit apartment is set to be built at 209 Lebleu Street, immediately up the hill from the Brunette Avenue development. Despite some criticism from the community that the project essentially traded affordability for luxury, council gave the Lebleu Street development final adoption in May.
In the pipeline
While it hasn’t made it to council chambers yet, the city has received a development application for a 450-unit development located just across the street, stretching from 1026 Brunette Avenue down to San Daniele Lane. While still in the preliminary stage, the development is proposed to be a mixed-use, multi-building complex.
Also in the preliminary stage is a six-storey, 74-unit development on James Avenue, a stone’s throw east of the Brunette Avenue project.
Neither project has received first reading from council.
A note about the plan
The city is attempting to turn Brunette Avenue into a commercial centre surrounded by a range of housing types within a walkable, revamped neighbourhood, according to the municipality’s Maillardville neighbourhood plan.
“. . . the Brunette Avenue Main Street has the potential to become much more, through redevelopment of existing properties, building on the existing commercial base and adding residential density,” according to the neighbourhood plan.
The neighbourhood was established in the early 20th century by French-Canadian settlers, many of whom worked at Fraser Mills.