In a meeting that sometimes seemed to pit one 25-storey tower against another, Coquitlam council ultimately approved a 206-unit development spanning three lots at Pipeline Road and Inlet Street during Monday’s meeting.
The 25-storey tower is set to include 147 condos, 50 rentals, and an additional nine below-market rental units.
After listening to the resident of a neighbouring 25-storey tower express his concerns about long shadows and longer traffic snarls, Mayor Richard Stewart pointed out that the resident’s home wouldn’t exist if a prior council had been swayed by those arguments.
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“You live in a 25-storey tower and you’re opposed to the 25-storey tower that’s proposed 100 metres north,” Stewart summarized.
The Pipeline Road project would not cast shadows on its neighbours to the south, according to a city staff member who added that properties to the south would cast some shadows on the forthcoming development.
The area is already busy and cramped, according to neighbour Kim Malito.
“We already have enough traffic on Pipeline as it is that causes a lot of congestion and by adding in another 200 plus units will just cause even more. We would support a 4 storey application if proposed but will not support this monstrosity that cannot support our current infrastructure,” Malito wrote in a letter to council.
Tthe project also had its supporters.
“It represents the opportunity for many more families to join our community and experience the wonderful amenities of this city,” wrote resident Ian Bushfield.
Following the public hearing, Coun. Brent Asmundson reminded residents that no one can actually own a view.
“I wonder what view was blocked when your highrise was built,” he said. “A real estate person or somebody sold you a view, but that’s not what you bought. You bought the unit.”
Stewart added that, while he liked hearing new perspectives, he was frustrated by the “NIMBY approach” to the city’s Official Community Plan.
“If you’re about to move into a new neighbourhood, check the OCP. Please don’t come to us later and say, ‘I didn’t know there was going to be a highrise across the street’” Stewart said.
The city may have a duty to educate the community, said Coun. Chris Wilson, adding that many intelligent people are ignorant about housing issues.
The project includes four levels of underground parking totaling 224 stalls.
Given that the project is about an 11-minute walk from a SkyTrain station, Coun. Trish Mandewo asked city staff if including 31 visitor spaces was excessive.
The city often allows parking reductions, but visitor parking requirements are generally not changed, according to city staff.
“For the record, I also thought that 224 [parking spots] was excessive,” Mandewo replied.
Mandewo asked staff to take a different view on parking, particularly in developments located near transit hubs.
It’s challenging to encourage residents to give up their cars, Coun. Craig Hodge noted, discussing concerns about new residents scrambling for already-scarce street parking.
“We’re building a building for the next 60 years but how do you deal with it in the interim?” he asked.
Hodge also asked city staff to pay particular attention to the area during construction given the possibility of overlapping construction schedules.
- Studio and one-bedroom units: 69 (including 45 with a den)
- Two-bedroom units: 115
- Three-bedroom units: 22
- Height: 262 feet.
- FAR: 5.50 (floor area ratio measures a project’s total floor space against its lot size)
- Applicant: Ledingham McAllister
Cash on the table
The project is expected to generate approximately $8 million for the city. That sum includes a $4.49 million density bonus with $590,000 going to the city’s affordable housing reserve fund.
That developer would also be on the hook $230,000 earmarked to help with transportation and $173,000 to help the city provide child care.
The project requires one more formal vote from council before shovels can hit the ground.