It may not be as affordable or as family-oriented as some observers thought it should be, but a new purpose-built rental building is now set to move ahead in Burquitlam following a unanimous vote from Coquitlam council Monday.
Situated over four lots in the 600-block of Claremont Street north of the SkyTrain station, the eight-storey, 110-unit concrete apartment building is slated to replace two houses.
The project includes six three-bedroom units, 19 two-bedroom units and 85 studio and one-bedroom units, 32 of which include a den. Given the development’s proximity to Oakdale Park, that arrangement is puzzling, according to resident Janice McAndrew.
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“Who is attracted to studio and one‐bedroom suites? Not people with children that might actually benefit from being close to a park,” McAndrew wrote to council.
Rob Bottos, who is planning to run for council in this year’s municipal election, voiced similar concerns during Monday’s meeting.
“We need to find creative ways to get more affordable and below-market housing in this community,” he said.
Introducing a development without an affordable component does a “disservice to the community,” Bottos said.
Without subsidies from senior levels of government, it’s very difficult for a municipality to create affordable housing without raising the cost of some housing to lower the cost of other housing,” Mayor Richard Stewart replied.
The mid-rise development will replace single-family homes that, by most measures, are not considered affordable, Stewart said, later explaining the need for a broad spectrum of housing at various levels of affordability.
From 1980 onward, Coquitlam added very little purpose-built rental, Stewart noted.
“All of our rental housing is 40 years old or, here in Coquitlam, brand new,” he said.
It’s very challenging to get non-market units into a for-profit, purpose-built rental building, added Coun. Chris Wilson
“Our incentives don’t really work in these situations and there’s no government funding,” he said. “The more market rental we get, the more supply there is and hopefully that just evens out the crazy rents that we’re facing right now.”
Given the project is about a seven-minute walk from the SkyTrain and a 15-minute bus trip from Simon Fraser University, the housing choice will “appeal to many,” according to Coun. Dennis Marsden.
Slated to be built by Liberty Homes, the project includes 16 units set to be adaptable or accessible for people with disabilities.
Parking spots: 100
Cash on the table: Approximately $1.5 million in development cost charges and community amenity contribution. That figure also includes approximately $76,400 earmarked for future childcare needs.
Consisting mainly of single-family houses, the neighbourhood may see huge densification in future years, depending on council’s decisions regarding applications in the city’s development pipeline.
The project requires one more formal vote from council before construction can begin.
Related: Coquitlam considers putting 110 rentals on four lots amid plans to further densify Burquitlam