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No to Fremont route change: Coquitlam

The East of Fremont traffic route study map - CITY OF PORT COQUITLAM
The East of Fremont traffic route study map
— image credit: CITY OF PORT COQUITLAM

Coquitlam has rejected a request from Port Coquitlam to move a major north-south connector that will link with Burke Mountain.

This week, council-in-committee balked at PoCo’s plea to move Fremont Street — north of Lincoln Avenue in Coquitlam — east by 330 m. The move would allow PoCo to build its Fremont connection from Burns Road to Lincoln Avenue via Prairie Avenue and Devon Street.

The new Devon Street option was brought forward in February by PoCo’s finance and intergovernmental committee.

Coun. Glenn Pollock, who seconded the motion by Coun. Darrell Penner, said the proposed Devon route would have less impact on residential properties close to Fremont. And pushing it north through agricultural land isn’t a big concern “because all the farmers can grow there is blueberries anyway,” he said.

“To be honest, I don’t see this road being built in the next 20 years,” Pollock said. “I just want to give this topic certainty for the homeowners there.”

Last month, PoCo launched its East of Fremont traffic study with an open house at Terry Fox secondary. Laura Lee Richard, PoCo’s director of development services, said the information meeting drew about 175 people who were able to speak with city staff directly about the two connection options.

On Monday, Catherine Mohoruk, Coquitlam’s manager of transportation planning, told Coquitlam’s council-in-committee that Coquitlam staff are willing to work with PoCo on the north section of Fremont, where the two municipal boundaries meet; funding is available for detailed work on a joint study, she said.

Still, Coquitlam councillors made it clear they don’t want to move the Coquitlam side of Fremont and they criticized PoCo for considering a road through farm land, which would require permission from the Agricultural Land Commission.

As well, a new extension north of Devon would have impacts on Deboville Slough tributaries, require official community plan changes, need upgrades to Lincoln and cost up to three times more than the existing Fremont route, said Jozsef Dioszeghy, Coquitlam’s engineering and public works general manager.

Coun. Brent Asmund-son said the previously designated Fremont alignment is the best. And he said PoCo needs to find a solution given that it’s generating major tax revenues with the development of the Dominion Triangle, at the south end of Fremont.

Coun. Mae Reid also said she’s unimpressed with PoCo “changing the goal posts” on the Fremont alignment. Dominion Triangle retailers set up shop wanting to capture thousands of shoppers from Burke Mountain, Port Moody and other areas, she said.

PoCo Mayor Greg Moore said PoCo is “going through a process and we have not taken a position on the right alignment. This is a connection for the growth of Coquitlam and I would hope they would have an open mind in going forward.”

Coquitlam is planning for 25,000 residents on the lower slopes of Burke Mountain over the next 20 years, including 15,000 in the Partington Creek neighbourhood that will link with Fremont.

The East of Fremont traffic study will take place this spring and summer; PoCo council is expected to make a decision on the alignment this fall. For information about the study, visit www.portcoquitlam.ca/eastfremont.

 

 

 

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