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'A beautiful place to call home': Affordable housing OK'd in Port Coquitlam

Are you facing higher rents and mortgages? This new housing development for Port Coquitlam is expected to bring some relief, says the city's mayor.
Westminster Junction Appartment Complex in Port Coquitlam
A rendering of the new 300-unit apartment complex on Kingsway Avenue in Port Coquitlam that will be called Westminster Junction.

A long-awaited affordable housing development with historical roots could soon be under construction after Port Coquitlam council approved a development permit.

On Tuesday (Sept. 20), council approved the next step for a 300-unit affordable rental housing project for the city.

Located at the crossroads of Kingsway and Gately avenues and Ticehurst Lane — where the city got its start when a railway station was built more than 100 years ago — the non-market rental complex will be named Westminster Junction.

Mayor West called it "a beautiful place to call home."

West congratulated the applicant, Affordable Housing Societies, for "such a strong proposal."

"It makes it easy to say yes," said West.

Walking trail along Coquitlam River

Currently behind fencing, the lot is made up of eight parcels bound by Kingsway Avenue, Gately Avenue and the Coquitlam River which will be subdivided and consolidated into a single 2.4-acre parcel.

The new development will provide 300 apartment dwellings in three six-storey buildings and a childcare facility built over a common one-level parkade.

In the development permit application, the builder promises to include sound-dampening materials on units fronting Kingsway Avenue, as well as make road improvements and clean up the area close to the Coquitlam River for a walking trail and to protect fish.

"This project represents the largest infusion of affordable non-market housing units in Port Coquitlam in decades," said West at Tuesday's committee of council meeting.

Calling it "high quality" with nice landscaping, West said the large project will provide affordable non-market rentals for families and others struggling to find housing in the current expensive housing market.

Noting that there are other projects in the works — for a total of about 500 affordable housing units — West said there is "more work to do."

"But for a city of our size, it's a remarkable achievement."

In addition to a development permit for Westminster Junction, council also approved a watercourse development permit for the project to provide for watercourse protection and enhancement for the property next to the Coquitlam River

What is Affordable Housing Societies?

The proponent, Affordable Housing Societies, was established in 1982 to develop, own and manage rental housing for low and moderate income families, seniors and singles/couples, according to the website.

The society has a portfolio of 3,639 units in 62 projects in 13 municipalities, all located in the Lower Mainland.

Once it is constructed, Westminster Junction will offer the following units:

  • 129 one-bedroom
  • 123 two-bedroom
  • 5 two-bedroom plus den
  • 43 three-bedroom apartment homes

Home sizes will range from 474 sq. ft to 861 sq. ft., according to a staff report, 58 of the units will be adaptable, 30 will be accessible and two will be universal (or barrier-free) to meet the needs of residents with disabilities.

Playground, gardening and bike storage

Here's the list of amenities:

  • children’s play area
  • raised gardening beds with a garden shed and access to water
  • barbecue area with seating and tables for outdoor gatherings and a patio adjacent to the indoor amenity space
  • lounge/party room and meeting/study rooms
  • private outdoor space, for all units, in the form of a balcony or patio
  • secure storage space for 300 bicycles along with a bike wash and repair station 
  • loading bay, equipped for vehicle washing
  • childcare facility