No room for this daycare
It wasn’t about the quality of the operator or a lack of need for daycares for the ever-expanding population of Burke Mountain.
The problem was where BrightStar Children’s Academy wanted to set up shop: on a dead-end street already jammed with vehicles.
For two hours at a public hearing Monday at Coquitlam city hall, area residents pleaded with council to turn down the bid for a 74-child daycare. They complained about traffic on Burke Mountain Street, a small, semi-rural road that now has more than 50 homes.
Building a two-storey daycare — with no room for parents to turn their cars around on site — would only add to safety problems, they said.
Thirty-year Burke homeowner Wendy Caldarone broke down in tears as she talked about how high density on her street is out of control. “I’m tired of all this. Enough is enough,” she said.
Other residents spoke about how development is putting pressure on the mountain and making it unlivable. The lack of on-street parking — caused by more residents, including those in secondary suites, and tradespeople — is worrisome, they said.
Wilkie Avenue resident Shane Peachman said the proposed location for the daycare would be along a wildlife corridor, where bears and cougars are common sights. “You are not thinking about where you are putting this,” he told council.
Of the 25 speakers at Monday’s meeting, four supported the bid: the operator, the architect, the traffic consultant and one mother of two.
Carol Wiens, BrightStar’s director of administration, said her businesses on Johnson Street and Riverwood Gate have waiting lists. And she argued Burke Mountain needs another daycare to meet demand as the neighbourhood is full of young families — and the need will continue to grow.
Traffic engineer Jan Voss said his studies of Burke Mountain Street showed there was sufficient room for vehicles and noted commuters would use Darwin Avenue for a three-point turn.
Richard Schroeder, who owns the land BrightStar intends to buy, said he was “offended” council would consider a business in a compact residential area. He and his neighbours would see parents using their driveways to navigate around the small street.
Coun. Brent Asmund-son, a Burke resident, said other Burke daycares have larger lots and sufficient room for parking. “I just don’t think that this fits in the area,” he said, in voting for Coun. Neal Nicholson’s motion to decline the application.
“To me, it’s a good idea in the wrong spot,” said Coun. Craig Hodge, another Burke resident.