After a bit of back-and-forth, a major Burquitlam development is going forth.
On Monday night (April 24), Coquitlam council unanimously gave third reading to a 744-unit project set to replace 12 single-family houses on Claremont Street and Gardena Drive.
The project includes a 42-storey as well as a 16-storey condo towers and a pair of six-storey purpose-built rental buildings.
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The development was one vote away from construction last fall when Coquitlam city staff noticed that an overview of the development omitted a section showing density sharing sites.
The applicant, Intracorp Gardena Nominee, also asked the city for some leeway in the development phasing. Rather than putting all the below-market rentals in one spot, the revised proposal allows for the units to be arrayed across the site.
The motion passed with no discussion. The project now requires one more formal vote from council before construction can proceed.
- Studios: 49
- One-bedrooms: 259 (82 with den)
- Two-bedrooms: 164 (7 with den)
- Three-bedroom: 54
- Studios: 26
- One-bedroom: 106
- Two-bedroom: 63
- Three-bedrooms: 23
The project is slated to include 189 market rentals and 29 below-market units.
The city requested a covenant that would keep the developer from letting anyone move into the condo towers until the rental building with the 29 below-market rentals is occupied.
During a sparsely attended public hearing in March, resident Roxanne Sturdy made a last ditch effort to preserve a tall sequoia in the area.
Sturdy noted the tree’s importance to the riparian area.
“How many of these trees are going to be disappearing from that creek area?” Sturdy asked.
Several neighbours had called for the preservation of a tall sequoia tree in the neighbouhood during the 2022 public hearing.
The removal of the tree “will affect the ravine habitat and put other trees at risk of falling,” wrote Oakdale Neighbourhood Association Janice McAndrew in a letter to council.
Because of the length of its roots, the sequoia would render a portion of the site undevelopable, according to city staff. As the tree cannot be moved and because an arborist deemed the tree to not be in good health, removal was recommended.
Approximately 48 new trees including an evergreen are slated to be planted on the site.
Losing the sequoia is regrettable, concurred Mayor Richard Stewart.
“I wish we could avoid cutting down any tree, but each of us, all of us, live on properties that used to be forest, probably,” he said.
While he praised the project, Coun. Dennis Marsden was critical of the applicant for their interaction with the neighbours, zeroing in on a Zoom call.
“The manner in which your CEO conducted himself in terms of really not paying any attention to the individual that he was on the call with was incredibly off-putting,” Marsden said. “I expect our developers to operate in good faith with the community and show respect. I didn’t feel that.”
It’s understandable that neighbours might have concerns, Marsden added.
“If we’re not listening to the neighbours to get the approval . . . how’s it going to be when we’re dealing with construction?” he asked.
A company representative explained that designers and financial officers aren’t necessarily great with people but that during negotiations Intracorp tends to employ speakers with “soft skills.”
Despite those concerns, Marsden supported the proposal, noting Coquitlam’s need for rental and particularly below-market rental housing.
“I’ve got kids I want to move out and they need a home to move to,” he said.
Once again, the project requires one more formal vote from council before construction can begin.