Proposal years ahead of a (possible) station
A company wanting to build a mid-rise housing complex near a future Evergreen Line station in Coquitlam may be offering a development that’s too small — and too soon.
Epix Developments is proposing to construct a six-storey building with 80 apartments and ground-floor commercial space at Falcon and Runnel drives on a vacant lot about 800 m from the Ioco station in Port Moody and two blocks north of a potential future Falcon Drive station.
Epix spokesperson Brad Marko told Coquitlam’s council-in-committee on Monday his company is also working with OK Tire to include its adjacent Falcon Drive property.
But while councillors said they like the overall design, they warned if the Falcon station were to be built after the Evergreen Line opens in 2016, they would want to have concrete towers in that neighbourhood — not six-storey wood-frame structures.
“I would be very concerned about not maximizing our opportunities given the close proximity to the [Falcon] station,” Coun. Craig Hodge said.
City manager Peter Steblin said Falcon is next on the books after the city-owned Lincoln station is built at Pinetree Way and Lincoln Avenue. Steblin told council that negotiations with the provincial government would likely happen “four to five years” after Evergreen begins operating from Lougheed to Coquitlam town centres — scheduled for 2016.
To further complicate the Epix proposal, Coquitlam city planners are in the middle of updating the City Centre Area Plan (CCAP) — a blueprint for growth that includes the neighbourhood where the company wants to build — and that process won’t end until later next year.
Coun. Linda Reimer suggested the city hire another planner to move the CCAP along faster. Developers, business people and residents are waiting for the municipality to complete its long-term visions for neighbourhoods such as Burquitlam and Partington Creek, she contended.
But Steblin countered that Coquitlam planning staff are stretched thin with the amount of new development happening in the city. According to a year-end report released on Monday, the overall construction value of all building permits issued in 2012 totalled more than $378 million — a significant number compared with other Metro Vancouver municipalities.
Jim McIntyre, Coquitlam’s general manager of planning and development, said the city needs to look at the big picture for City Centre and the Barnet corridor, and “one more planner isn’t going to solve our problems,” he said.
Council-in-committee received Epix’s pre-application report for information.