Despite one councillor’s objections, Coquitlam council voted Monday to advance a 59-unit townhouse project just north of Burquitlam.
Situated over five Harrison Avenue lots approximately one-kilometre from the Burquitlam SkyTrain station, the project consists of 59 stratified townhouses in seven three-storey buildings.
Those townhouses include four studio units and 10 one-bedroom townhouses, an inclusion that seemed to baffle Coun. Robert Mazzarolo.
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“I can’t understand why we are taking townhouse units and making them apartments, essentially,” Mazzarolo said. “To me, that makes no sense.”
These are not the townhouses the city needs, Mazzarolo contended.
“We desperately need conventional townhouse units,” he said, calling the housing form: “vital for younger families that cannot afford the single-detached home.”
There are nine development applications in various stages of approval in the neighbourhood. Those developments include approximately 1,725 apartment units and 90 townhouse units.
Given the relatively large supply of apartments and condos, townhouses are “desperately needed,” Mazzarolo said.
The project is different from a conventional townhouse development, acknowledged Mayor Richard Stewart.
Most townhouses range from two to four-bedrooms and include two sets of stairs. However, those townhouses aren’t for everyone, the mayor said.
“There’s a big part of the market that doesn’t serve well,” Stewart added.
These studio and one-bedroom townhouses will fill a portion of the market, the mayor said.
“It’s not going to take over the townhouse market,” Stewart said. “It definitely does though, supplement the missing middle.”
As opposed to walking out their front door and into a hallway, the townhouse design would allow residents to walk through their front door to a little patch of land, said Coun. Teri Towner.
“I actually commend the proponent for this mixture of units,” she said, noting that seniors represent the city’s largest demographic.
In the current design, each unit has one entryway step.
- Studios: 4
- One-bedroom: 10
- Two-bedroom: 28
- Three-bedroom: 17
The units range in size from 427 to 1,599 square feet.
If the project is approved, developer Domus Projects, is on the hook for approximately $2.1 million in development cost charges and community amenity contributions.
Domus would also pay about $67,000 to the city’s child care fund and $1,100 to help with transportation demand.
The project passed 7-1 with Mazzarolo opposed. The application still needs to go through a public hearing and two subsequent votes from council before construction can begin.