Wider study area sought for NW Burke
The last section of Coquitlam's Burke Mountain to be built will undergo a much wider study than previously planned.
Instead of a neighbourhood plan that was scheduled for the Hazel Drive-Harper Road area — located at the top of Coast Meridian Road — city staff instead will look at a bigger picture for 990 acres that will include:
• quarry lands west of the Coquitlam River;
• a development reserve south and east of Hazel-Harper;
• and Riverwalk, a privately held property that wraps around Hazel-Harper to the west and north.
The study area is south of the Pinecone Burke Provincial Park.
On Thursday, Jim McIntyre, Coquitlam's general manager of planning and development, told The Tri-City News the city's 30-year vision is aimed at looking at the connection between the northwestern properties.
"It's such a range of areas that we thought the visioning approach made more sense," he said.
And, as with the Transit-Oriented Development Strategy — a new city policy developed for land around the upcoming Evergreen Line — the visioning concept is expected to go much quicker than a more detailed neighbourhood plan and, in some cases, allowing landowners to apply for an OCP change right after the visioning process is complete.
Currently, Coquitlam has four neighbourhood plans for Burke Mountain: Upper Hyde Creek, Lower Hyde Creek, Smiling Creek and Partington Creek, the last of which council adopted last fall.
In total, more than 25,000 people are expected to call Burke home over the next 30 years, of which up to 8,000 could go in the northwest Burke visioning area.
But lumping the lands together isn't in the best interest of the Hazel Drive Neighbours' Association, spokesperson Glenn Toppings told council last month.
The scope is too broad, he complained, and many Hazel residents have been waiting years to redevelop their semi-rural properties. (Years ago, Hazel had the chance to be part of the Smiling Creek Neighbourhood Plan but declined.)
Hazel consists of older homes — many still occupied by the original landowners — and are serviced with municipal water but not city sanitary sewers. In many cases, the septic systems are failing or below standard.
McIntyre said on Thursday the city decided to include Riverwalk in the vision for "completeness."
"Why leave a pocket there?" he asked. "You don't want to omit that portion."
A decade ago, the city put preconditions on Riverwalk — i.e., installing a Coquitlam River bridge, establishing a school site, etc. — before development could start but those have yet to be met.
Meanwhile, city staff are organizing a public advisory group to develop the Northwest Burke Vision. And a workshop with area landowners as well as an open house is set to take place before the summer.
The draft Northwest Burke Vision is expected to go before city council for consideration early next year.