Despite a few qualms about a too-small daycare and leftover density, Coquitlam council was generally effusive in their praise for an eight-tower development pitched for the former Coronation Park Elementary site during Monday’s meeting.
Council used adjectives like “great,” “gorgeous,” and “awesome-looking” to describe the proposed project from Polygon development company that would put 2,558 units in buildings ranging from 38 to 45 storeys.
Set to be built over about 16 years, the project consists of 590 rental units and 1,968 condos on a handful of single-family lots at 135 Balmoral Drive and 2518-2548 Palmer Avenue.
The approximately 10-acre site may have gotten a little elbow room as Polygon recently bought “two holdout lots” on the southwest portion of the site, according to Polygon representative Chris Phillips.
Given the site’s proximity to Inlet Centre Station and the Port Moody border, the development is meant to be a gateway that announces your arrival in Coquitlam, Phillips told council.
Bringing up below-market
The project includes 98 units of below-market rental housing and 492 units of market rental housing, However, that total is about 25 percent lower than what is allowable under city incentives, noted Coun. Chris Wilson.
“I really hope and expect that we’ll be able to figure out a way to take full advantage of those incentives,” Wilson said. “We really need to do everything we can to get enough below market and non-market housing throughout the city.”
Calling the proposal an “amazing project,” Mayor Richard Stewart noted some municipalities might find it “really odd” for council to be asking the developer for higher density rather than the other way around.
“Being so close to a SkyTrain station it really, obviously, needs to be a higher density project,” he said.
Stewart also noted that the rental and non-market housing component is not being funded by government.
“This is a project that any other community would say ‘hallelujah.’”
Wilson questioned whether a childcare with room for 37 children would accommodate a development expected to house 5,100 people.
“I’m really hoping that you can increase the space dramatically,” Wilson said.
Coun. Trish Mandewo expressed reservations about space for children on the site.
“My challenge in trying to visualize this is when you look at the number of children . . . and you look at having one playground and you look at having one central place. That doesn’t add up,” she said.
The project, which is next door to a possible high-density development in Port Moody, would also include a one-acre public park.
Roadwork: The development would include a new north/south road connecting Barnet Highway to Palmer Avenue.
Art: The project is set to include a sculpture by Haida artist Chief James Hart
Cash on the table: While figures are preliminary, city staff estimates Polygon would be on the hook for approximately $120-million in density bonus payments, development cost charges and voluntary community amenity contributions.