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Concrete wall circling Coquitlam property poised to come down

Gemex Development Corp. wants to develop the 16.4-acre site at Caliente Place in Coquitlam, that's mostly surrounded by a concrete wall.

A controversial property close to the Coquitlam River may soon see its concrete walls torn down.

Tonight, Monday, Sept. 25, city council was expected to give first reading to an Official Community Plan change and rezoning bid by Gracorp to create 40 single-family lots, plus three more for watercourse protection and another three for future parkland.

Gemex Development Corp. wants to develop the 16.4-acre site, which is mostly surrounded by a concrete wall — up to 12 feet in height and up to one-foot thick — that was put up more than two decades ago by the landowner Diane Spraggs.

The property at 3333 Caliente Pl. is valued at $12.8 million, one of the highest-assessed parcels in the Tri-Cities in 2023.

According to a report by Chris McBeath, Coquitlam's acting director of development services, Spraggs' existing house will stay on a larger remainder lot that could eventually be subdivided into eight compact residential pieces.

Gracorp also hired a professional engineer to look at the structural integrity of the concrete wall.

"As portions of the wall would have to be removed for the new road networks, the applicant will remove the concrete wall in its entirety, to be replaced with a maximum 1.8 m (6 ft.) wooden fence where it abuts neighbouring properties," McBeath wrote in his report.

Neighbours have raised concerns about the development and provided a 42-signature petition to the city in opposition, citing, among other things:

However, some neighbours say they’d like to be connected to the future sanitary mains going in on El Camino Drive while others say they'd like to see more river trails in the area, north of David Avenue.

The property has a 40 m-wide BC Hydro right-of-way that runs from the northwestern edge of the site to the southeastern side.

McBeath said there's an open space between Hockaday Creek and the Coquitlam River that’s expected to be conveyed to the city.

If approved following a public hearing, a public trail would be built by the applicant — in consultation with the municipality — that would link with the existing Coquitlam River trail system.

As well, there's a proposed pedestrian connection to the trail from El Camino Drive, north of the site, between 1419 El Camino Dr. and the proposed Lot 18.

In addition, Gemex would also build new roads through the development, including sidewalks, landscaped boulevards and street lighting, McBeath wrote.

If OK'd by council, the proposal would bring in for the city:

  • $2.4 million in development cost charges
  • $390,000 in community amenity contributions
  • 35,811 sq. ft. of dedicated parkland

Speak up! The public hearing for the Gracorp/Gemex proposal is on Monday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. To register, you can visit the city's website.

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