It was old money, a new loan and fresh concrete at 551 Emerson Street on Wednesday as federal, provincial and municipal politicians stood in front of the construction site.

Located a short hop from the Burquitlam SkyTrain station, the 31-storey, 308-unit rental project is the beneficiary of a $109-million loan via a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation program.

The project, located next door to the forthcoming YMCA Community Centre, includes 100 units that will be a boon for seniors, newcomers to Canada and adults with disabilities, said Claire MacLean, CEO of 43 Housing Society.

“This means that 100 families will no longer have to choose between paying rent and putting food on the table,” MacLean said. While Concert owns the property, 43 Housing Society is slated to operate the 100 affordable units.

Breakdown:

  • 20 units: households on income assistance
  • 50 units: rent geared to income
  • 30 homes slated to be rented at the low end of market levels. 
  • Three-bedroom units: 2
  • Two-bedroom units: 27
  • Studio and one-bedroom units: 71

Today’s announcement came three years after the provincial government chipped in $10.6 million and nearly two years after the city of Coquitlam pledged a $3.85 million grant to 43 Housing Society. 

Mayor Richard Stewart noted that Coquitlam’s contribution is the result of leveraging density bonus contributions from developers. That practice created a fund that is: “a cornerstone of Coquitlam’s housing affordability strategy,” Stewart said.

That strategy is critical, given the age and condition of much of the city’s low-cost housing, Stewart said.

“So many residents rely on housing that was built when I was a baby,” Stewart said.

The project should help keep working people in Coquitlam, said Port Moody-Coquitlam MLA Rick Glumac.

“This new project is welcome news for families and seniors in Coquitlam who are being forced to look at housing outside of their community,” Glumac said.

Construction is tentatively slated wrap up in the spring of 2023.