Big changes for Burquitlam area
One of Coquitlam’s oldest neighbourhoods that has been slow to transition may soon be teeming with highrises and mega-housing complexes.
And the architect proposing a new 24-storey tower in Burquitlam is the same one that designed a 24-storey highrise in another aging Coquitlam neighbourhood poised for revitalization: Austin Heights.
This week, architect Chris Dikeakos gave a sneak peak at Coquitlam city hall about what Blue Sky Properties plans to build in Burquitlam in anticipation of the Evergreen Line running up North Road.
In his pre-application to the city’s land use committee — a bid that has yet to be formally introduced to council — Dikeakos showed a proposal for up to 410 new homes at 655 North Rd. and 525 Foster Ave.
Dikeakos said Blue Sky Properties is considering two options for the Foster Avenue lot: either a mix of townhomes/apartment blocks or a 26-storey tower with surrounding townhomes and rental housing apartments; the latter would free up 30,000-square feet for a community park, he said.
It, however, wasn’t the only pre-application the committee saw for Burquitlam on Monday:
• Rositch Hemphill Architects, on behalf of Greenwood Properties, is looking to build 91 apartments and city homes on Cottonwood Avenue. A spokesperson said the company “has been working on this site for a couple of years” with the intention of constructing four-storey “affordable housing” complexes;
• and Intracorp Projects Ltd. also presented its plans for 636-640 Aspen St. and 514-554 Foster Ave., where it has contracts to purchase 17 single-family lots on an entire city block. Spokesperson David Jacobson said his company wants to consolidate 18 properties and, if approved, build 124 townhomes in 23 three-storey townhome buildings, on 5.4 acres. Jacobson said Intracorp held two neighbourhood meetings last month and has set up a website (www.fostertownhomes.ca) for the project.
As well, on Monday, the land use committee okayed a development permit for a 79-unit townhouse complex at Langside Avenue and Breslay Street, behind Burquitlam Plaza; city council is expected to issue the permit next week.
Those mega-projects follow other housing bids approved by council this and last year, including:
• Mosaic Homes’ 161-suite apartment block at 539-557 Foster Ave. and its 70-unit apartment complex at 604-610 Como Lake Ave.;
• and Bosa Properties and Safeway’s joint mixed-used high-density project in the 500-block of Clarke Road, in the Burquitlam Plaza, that will include two highrises, six townhouses, three retail units and a grocery store. The latter project is expected to be finished by 2015 when the Evergreen Line is set to be up and running.
Jim McIntyre, Coquitlam’s general manager of planning, told The Tri-City News yesterday that Burquitlam’s overall redevelopment will be the subject of a staff report to the land use committee on July 25.
“There’s interest in the development community about what’s going on in Burquitlam.... We’re getting phone calls and people inquiring,” he said.
Don Violette, president of the Burquitlam Community Association, also told The News yesterday the future housing projects are expected to be discussed at his group’s meeting next week.
Neighbourhood redevelopment is positive, he said, but infrastructure must be built, too, especially schools and rapid transit.
Violette said another concern is the rental housing stock as many Burquitlam apartments are subsidized. There is fear many people on fixed incomes will be displaced as they can’t afford to buy — even if the suites are deemed “affordable” at $400,000 or $500,000, he said.