Planning for a new Burquitlam
Throughout Burquitlam, construction is booming.
Hammers are pounding and saws are cutting in anticipation of the Evergreen Line, which is set to begin running along North and Clarke roads by summer 2016.
The hurried redevelopment of west Coquitlam has put pressure on the city to update its neighbourhood plan, a blueprint for what Burquitlam will look like in 25 years.
Now, with neighbourhood plans recently adopted for Austin Heights, Maillardville and Burke Mountain’s Partington Creek, as well as the Northwest Burke Visioning Study underway this year, the municipality is set to launch Phase 1 of the Burquitlam-Lougheed Neighbourhood Plan this spring.
The BLNP will be different from the other neighbourhood plans as it will combine two distinct districts of west Coquitlam to focus on the new transit corridor.
Carl Johannsen, Coquitlam’s manager of community planning, said updating the BLNP will take about two years to complete, coinciding with the opening of the Evergreen Line.
And it will involve many people to get input on how the area will absorb 14,000 more residents by 2040, he told the committee.
Community planner Ryan Perry said a 20-person public advisory group will be formed soon, made up of residents from Burquitlam and Lougheed residents’ associations; business and commercial property owners; volunteers from the youth council, Dogwood Pavilion Seniors’ Society, Success and Share; School District 43; the Urban Development Institute; and the Greater Vancouver Homebuilders Association. They will play key roles in the planning process and will be responsible for relaying information back to their respected organizations.
Other stakeholders will be involved in the update of the BLNP, Perry said, including the adjoining cities of Burnaby, New Westminster and Port Moody. And, at the end of each of the three planning phases, an open house will be held to gauge more community feedback; the first is expected this fall.
Coun. Mae Reid said she doesn’t want the city to go through a scenario that played out after the Austin Heights Neighbourhood Plan was adopted, when she said some residents didn’t understand the policy jargon or the future land uses.
Under the BLNP, the existing 20,000 residents — located in the general area west of Blue Mountain Street, north of Highway 1, east of North Road and south of Port Moody — will see high density around the Evergreen Line that will slope away from the transit corridor. The streets around the stations will be designed to be more pedestrian-friendly, with large sidewalks and a mix of retail, restaurants, services and office space.
Still, with the two neighbourhoods combined, some councillors said they wanted the characteristics of the sub-areas to be preserved as much as possible as residents can be “culturally sensitive.” For example, those in Oakdale define their established, single-family home area differently than others in condos and townhouses across North Road and Como Lake Avenue. And many homeowners in Lougheed aren’t happy they’re outside the Maillardville boundary now, Mayor Richard Stewart said.
Coun. Bonita Zarrillo said she’s not pleased Burquitlam and Lougheed will be amalgamated for the new plan. She said Burquitlam residents can’t wait two years for the update and they feel being lumped in with Lougheed will slow the process.
“This is based on efficiency,” said Jim McIntyre, Coquitlam’s general manager of planning and development. “There is benefit of looking at them together.”
City council is expected to discuss the proposed scope and process of the BLNP on Monday.
Burquitlam and Lougheed area residents and business owners wanting to be part of the BLNP public advisory group have until April 28 at noon to apply. Visit coquitlam.ca/BLNP for information.