More than a decade after it was first approved, a neighbourhood-defining project is headed to a public hearing following Coquitlam council’s unanimous vote Monday.
At the tail-end of a five-hour meeting, council gave first reading to a 5,500-unit development application earmarked for the 37-hectare former Fraser Mills site east of Ikea and south of Maillardville. The proposal consists of 16 towers ranging from 29 to 49 storeys as well as 794,500 square feet of employment space including light industrial, office and retail space.
While similar to the 2008 incarnation of the project, the revamped proposal allocates a bit less space to employment land and includes more housing units. The neighbourhood population is anticipated consist of about 11,000 residents.
Coun. Brent Asmundson recalled voting to change the land use from industrial to residential and commercial in 2008.
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“It’s unfortunate it took 14 years,” Asmundson said.
Asmundson thanked the developers for a transit-friendly design that includes a vehicle bridge across Como Creek to Brigantine Drive
“I’m going to move this forward and let’s get on with it,” he said.
Mayor Richard Stewart poked fun at the delay.
“You had used the term ‘once in a generation’ and I was almost going to ask: ‘Which generation?” Stewart quipped. “I’m so pleased to see it moving ahead now.”
The project is expected to produce 1,700 jobs, according to a city staff report. The project includes a “light industrial node” as well as a “production and innovation hub,” along United Boulevard.
The project includes a new pier and a refurbished wharf. The applicant, Beedie development group, would also pay $61 million to help build a new, 50,000-square-foot community centre.
In exchange for a reduction in city parking requirements, Beedie would also subsidize transit to ensure 15-minute bus service during peak hours Monday through Saturday. The subsidy would continue until TransLink upgrades bus service in the area.
The land is currently used for warehousing and industrial uses.
A portion of the site would also be held to make room for a school if deemed necessary by School District #43.
Cash on the table
If approved, the developer is expected to be on the hook for approximately $131 million in development cost charges as well as money contributed to the city’s affordable housing reserve fund. That fund is in addition to the $61 million paid toward the new community centre.
A neighbourhood plan supplied by the developer anticipated the project will take 20-25 years to complete.
“We look forward to groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings,” Stewart said following the vote. “Well, we look forward to a public hearing.”