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EDITORIAL: Is fourth time a charm for Burke Mountain development?
It’s not every day a city plans another city within its boundaries but that is essentially what’s happening with the Partington Creek neighbourhood plan now up for discussion in Coquitlam.
This draft document is no small achievement in that it envisions 10,000 to 15,000 residents living in 600 acres on Burke Mountain as well as new schools, parks, a shopping hub and even, possibly, a cemetery.
What’s more, this new plan envisions a multiplicity of housing options that can support the changing needs of individuals and families, and easy access to transit that is the hallmark of vibrant, liveable cities.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that this is the latest of four Burke Mountain neighbourhood plans and council isn’t happy with how the previous three it approved have worked out.
As reported last Friday in The Tri-City News, some councillors have said publicly the city’s vision for the Upper Hyde Creek, Lower Hyde Creek and Smiling Creek neighbourhoods hasn’t become reality. To quote the front-page story, councillors at a Dec. 10 meeting “cited the narrow streets, lack of parking — on street and at homes — and poor traffic patterns as among their biggest concerns with the mountain development.”
Let’s get this straight: The city’s council members, only two of whom are rookies, have spent countless hours and tax dollars, and participated in dozens of votes, on the planning of this new community within a community but they don’t like the results?
And whom do they suggest taxpayers blame?
More importantly, how do they suggest they’re going to avoid being disappointed in the next plan that they will, again, approve?
Now, it is understandable that some changes might take place as the plan is put into practice because early intentions can fall to changing market conditions. For example, the Newport Village originally envisioned and approved by Port Moody city council in the early 1990s underwent a number of substantial revisions (more storeys, less commercial space) before becoming the oft-copied complex seen today.
But if Coquitlam council members want to ensure a well-designed Partington Creek plan that is based on the best input from staff, expert consultants and residents becomes undiluted reality, then it’s up to them to make it happen — not to lament that it didn’t.