It could replace eight single-family houses with 452 units of housing.
Coquitlam council unanimously gave first reading to a development proposal consisting of one 35-storey strata tower and a six-storey rental building at Westley Avenue, Gardena Drive and Kemseley Avenue, about a half-kilometre from Burquitlam SkyTrain station.
But while council was unanimous, there were a few qualms expressed at the April 24 meeting.
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With about 91 children expected to live in the development, the city will likely need another 24 child-care spaces. Currently, the applicant is expected to pay the city $148,000 earmarked for Coquitlam’s child-care reserve fund.
Rather than taking the money, the city may need to work out some arrangement – possibly offering more density – so that developers provide child-care rather than chipping in to the reserve fund, said Coun. Brent Asmundson.
“Where are we going to locate the child-care?” he asked.
The project includes 38 three-bedroom units. The city would generally require 45 three-bedroom units for a development of this size, equivalent to 10 percent of the total.
Coun. Robert Mazzarolo, a frequent advocate for more three-bedroom units, suggested a possible change.
“I really encourage the applicant to get to 10 percent,” he said. Coun. Steve Kim echoed Mazzarolo’s concern.
City staff “encouraged the applicant to increase the three-bedroom units,” according to a staff report. However, the applicant stated: “the proposed unit count is based on census data which indicates that the city’s average household size has decreased in the last two census periods.”
If the development moves forward, eight houses are set for demolition, much to the chagrin of Coun. Craig Hodge.
“We can’t keep crushing houses and putting them in dumpsters,” he said. “We’ve got to find a better way.”
While there are several development applications for six-storey projects and one 42-storey tower pending in the immediate neighbourhood, the site is currently surrounded by single-family homes.
- Strata units: 320
- Market rentals: 115
- Below-market units: 17
- Floor area ratio (a measurement of the project’s total floor space against its lot size): 5.5
- Parking spots: 504
Cash on the table
If the project is approved, the developer is slated to pay the city approximately $20 million including density bonus charges, development cost charges, a fee to help with increased transportation demand, and other charges.
The project requires a public hearing and two more votes from council before approval.