It’s a great big project with, according to at least one councillor, a great big omission.
On Monday afternoon, Coquitlam council got their first look at development company Ledingham McAllister’s master plan for the eight-acre parcel east of Henderson Place Mall and north of École Maple Creek Middle School.
The 1145 Inlet Street development would replace 113 townhouses with eight six- and seven-storey buildings and one 25-storey tower.
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The project is set to include 978 condos, 135 rentals and no below-market or non-market units, which Coun. Matt Djonlic characterized as a “huge loss.”
The site’s residents currently pay rent ranging from $1,400 to $1,900, Djonlic said.
“This is some of Coquitlam’s desperately needed affordable housing stock,” he said.
Without new below-market housing, the development represents a net loss in terms of affordability, according to Djonlic.
Generally, it’s unfair to put the burden to provide affordable housing on someone who owns a property with rental housing, said Mayor Richard Stewart.
“The owner of this property doesn’t owe us non-market housing,” he said.
While the development would need an official community plan amendment to allow for the 25-storey tower, the project is otherwise completely in line with the city’s expectations, according to Stewart.
“The applicant has provided us what we asked them to provide us,” Stewart said.
Coun. Robert Mazzarolo concurred with Djonlic, noting that even below-market units – which are offered at 20 percent below market rates – would still cost more than what the current tenants are paying.
“I would strongly encourage the applicant to reconsider the below-market and non-market rental,” Mazzarolo said.
Mazzarolo also called for more two- and three-bedroom units.
The townhouses on the site include 79 three-bedroom units and 34 two-bedroom units The new rental building is slated to include 20 three-bedroom units and 48 two-bedroom units.
Townhouse residents would have first right of refusal for the new rental units.
The issue is less about what the development will replace and more about what the city needs, according to Coun. Craig Hodge.
“I think that what we should be looking at is . . . there are 1,100 units here, we need to have some that are affordable.”
The development is slated to include a childcare with space for 57 children.
If approved, Ledingham McAllister would pay Coquitlam approximately $25 million in development cost charges and community amenity contributions.
The project needs to go through a public hearing as well as multiple votes from council before proceeding.