Coquitlam approves 42-storey Burquitlam tower

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Despite concerns that ranged from the loss of a tall sequoia to the area’s ongoing sewage overflow problem, Coquitlam council unanimously voted to add 744 new units to Burquitlam.

The project – which involves putting a 42-storey condo highrise, a 16-storey condo tower, and a pair of six-storey rental buildings on 12 lots in 600-blocks of Claremont Street and Gardena Drive – is located at the “nexus of multiple issues” affecting the neighbourhood, according to Oakdale neighbourhood Association representative Rick Rupp.

While several current tenants wrote letters in support of the development, Rupp asked council to defer their vote until the neighbourhood had clarity on several issues, including frequent sewage overflows in the neighbourhood.

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“Those all really hit this area because this is right at the creek,” Rupp told council.

Those overflows are due to groundwater and rainwater infiltrating and eventually overwhelming porous pipes in the area, according to city staff. However, a new diversion pipe should handle sewage at a rate of approximately 20 litres per second. The additional diversion pipe may not stop sewage overflows, but it should make them less frequent, according to city staff.

The larger sewage problem remains the Metro Vancouver trunk sewer, which is currently in the preliminary design phase with construction tentatively slated for 2025 or 2026, according to city staff.

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During the Sept. 26 council meeting, a representative for lntracorp development company also pledged to use a water quality monitor system such as Flowlink during construction in order to ensure no contaminants are dumped in nearby streams.

Flowlink has monitored construction sites in Burnaby and Port Moody to keep contaminants from seeping into waterways, often by stopping water from being discharged when pollution is detected.

“Construction spills are very easy to prevent,” Flowlink CEO Elena Ranyuk told the Dispatch earlier this year. “It’s just not a requirement for all sites. I am not sure why.”

The sequoia

Several neighbours called for the preservation of a tall sequoia tree in the neighbouhood.

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.

Bike lanes and Burnaby

Neighbour Jennifer Strachan raised concerns over a new bike lane that would intersect with a series of driveways, some on steep ground.

“It’s hard to see on the best of days,” she said

The alternative would mean putting a bike lane on the other side of the street, which is technically in Burnaby.

Still, Coun. Dennis Marsden suggested city staff take a “hard look” at that option for the safety of cyclists.


  • Market condo units: 526
  • Market rental units: 189
  • Below-market rental units: 29
  • The project’s 77 three-bedroom units are set to be divided between 54 strata and 23 rental units.
  • Floor area ratio: 5.5 (floor area ratio measures a project’s total floor space against its lot size)
  • Parking spots: 808 (all underground)

While he judged the development to be “a decent project,” Marsden reiterated his call for the city to press B.C. Housing and other not-for-profit housing providers for rent-geared-to-income opportunities.

It’s a way to keep young people and service workers in Coquitlam, Marsden said.

“I don’t want them commuting. I want them living here and working here.”

The project requires one more formal vote from council before construction can start.

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