Port Coquitlam townhouse plan back to committee
Port Coquitlam council will take a second look at a townhouse development being proposed on Salisbury Avenue after residents in the area overwhelmingly opposed the project during a public hearing Monday.
Ben Wilson, who lives near the proposed townhouse development, told council the proposed building is too big and would dramatically alter the neighbourhood, which is largely made up of single-family homes. He presented a petition to council with more than 100 signatures opposing the project.
“It is clear that more people are against this development than are in favour of it,” he said during the public hearing. “Ninety-five per cent of residents canvassed are opposed.”
The main concern for residents, Wilson said, is the increased number of people and traffic the 17-unit townhouse would bring to the neighbourhood. The area is zoned for townhouses under the municipality’s official community plan but the developers are seeking an amendment to permit two extra units on the property.
Currently, residents feel safe letting their children play outside, Wilson said, adding that would change with additional traffic in the area expected with the townhouse development.
“In a perfect world, council would deny the application altogether,” he said. “But neighbourhood residents are not unreasonable. We would settle for having our major issues addressed.”
Council eventually voted unanimously in favour of sending the zoning amendment bylaw back to the city’s smart growth committee for further deliberation.
Coun. Mike Forrest, who supported giving the proposal a second look, said it is frustrating to hear residents complain about the official community plan, which was adopted in 2005 and despite the city’s best efforts, Forrest said public engagement was limited. He said it was “troubling” that now some of the developments allowed under the document are coming forward that neighbours are becoming more outspoken. “We went through an endless amount of time in an OCP process,” he said. “We didn’t see people coming out then. We are going to get densification. It is going to happen.”
Coun. Michael Wright also took issue with some of the statements made by those opposed to the development.
In letters and submissions to the city, several residents said more than 200 people would be added to the neighbourhood if the 17-unit townhouse were built. It was also stated that the development would bring more crime and social problems to the neighbourhood.
“That to me is a little over the top,” Wright said. “I’m concerned when I hear this development will cause more crime and increased social problems.”
The zoning amendment bylaw will now be sent back to the city’s smart growth committee for further consideration. If it comes back to council it will have to go through another public hearing process.