New neighbourhood plan for Burquitlam area

The update of the Burquitlam-Lougheed Neighbourhood Plan is now underway for the city of Coquitlam. - DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS
The update of the Burquitlam-Lougheed Neighbourhood Plan is now underway for the city of Coquitlam.

An advisory group is now being formed to envision how two west Coquitlam neighbourhoods will look like in the next 25 years.

On Monday, city council asked staff to hit the start button for the Burquitlam-Lougheed Neighbourhood Plan update, a two-year process that will create a blueprint to add 14,000 more people by 2041.

Carl Johannsen, Coquitlam’s manager of community planning, said the update will involve extensive public consultation plus work from the public advisory group that will include representatives from the Burquitlam Community Association and Oakdale Neighbourhood Association as well as social, school and seniors’ agencies.

The adjoining cities of Burnaby, Port Moody and New Westminster and School District 43 will also be asked for their input on the region that is now having a $1.4-billion rapid transit line built through it.

Council concurred the Evergreen Line will be “a game changer” for the community; however, at Monday’s meeting, they didn’t agree that Burquitlam and Lougheed should be combined for the update.

Coun. Neal Nicholson’s motion to have city staff create two separate neighbourhood plans — but still under the same re-visioning process — was defeated by one vote, with Mayor Richard Stewart and councillors Brent Asmundson, Mae Reid, Terry O’Neill and Chris Wilson opposing.

The latter group successfully countered the distinct cultures of the two neighbourhoods and its sub-areas will be maintained under the combined plan. And they argued Burquitlam and Lougheed have many land-use policies in common, the most prevalent being around the new Evergreen Line corridor.

They also suggested having two different plans would cost the city more money and would slow the update— something that can’t be afforded as development pressures build around the massive piece of infrastructure.

Jim McIntyre, Coquitlam’s general manager of planning and development services, said staff want to have “one framework but with a mosaic of neighbourhoods” that would take into account the large multi-cultural population.

Still, Coun. Reid, a real estate agent, said council shouldn’t be focused on redrawing the map. Rather, it must concentrate on “stopping the angst” for redevelopment: Area homeowners and businesses want to know how their property fits into the overall vision and whether they are situated in a high-density zone with highrises or a medium-density area with townhouses and condo blocks, she said.

Meanwhile, city planner Ryan Perry said the update will also include an outreach with ethnic media and a communications push before each open house; the first gathering is expected to take place this fall, after the public advisory group meets.



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