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Maillardville input sought
The much-needed redevelopment of Coquitlam’s French-speaking enclave was a hot topic during the election race this month.
Now, city staff want to hear directly from residents about how Maillardville — once home to the largest sawmill in the Commonwealth — should grow in the next 20 years and beyond.
A public open house on the updated Maillardville Neighbourhood Plan will be held on Thursday, Dec. 1 at Place Maillardville (1200 Cartier Ave.) from 4 to 8 p.m., giving the public a chance to comment on proposed housing, transportation, parks and business needs for the area where 10,000 people live.
At the city’s first open house on the updated plan, held in June 2009, residents cited the community’s assets, in particular, Place des Arts and Maillardville’s history with Fraser Mills (about 20 years ago, there were about 185 heritage buildings; today, there are less than 30 buildings).
However, attendees also flagged the need to replace Place Maillardville, a community centre in Laval Square across from Our Lady of Lourdes church, and traffic woes on Brunette Avenue.
Al Boire, president of the Maillardville Residents’ Association, said even though the transition has been slow, much has been done by the city in the past five years, including bylaws to prohibit undesirable businesses and tax incentives to landlords wanting to spruce up their buildings; public art; beautification projects; plans to revamp Mackin Park; and a new King Edward Street overpass. As well, multi-family homes are popping up, with some developers salvaging heritage homes or materials.
“There’s been some real change and that’s positive,” Boire said, but noted Maillardville is “a work in progress” with some eyesores still to be dealt with such as the Hell’s Angels’ clubhouse on Brunette.
Bruce Irvine, Coquitlam’s manager of community planning, said the city wants to create “an authentic character” to Maillardville with appropriate density and housing infill “and we want to do this with consultation, listening to the residents and key stakeholders and understanding where they are coming from.”
The topic of Maillardville’s revitalization has gone back many years. In 2006, a report commissioned by Société Maillardville-Uni and funded by Industry Canada made a number of recommendations to attract Francophone/French businesses and tourists.