A list of qualified non-profit groups that want to design, build and run a new seniors housing complex next to Place Maillardville in Coquitlam is now being created.
This month, Coquitlam’s council-in-committee heard from city staff about the much-needed capital project that will be built on the existing parking lot, once new community centre goes up next year and the current complex is torn down.
Currently, the city is out with a request for qualified candidates and quotes (RFQ) before it officially posts its tender.
Still, its proposal for the seniors complex is different than before.
Under the original plan, it called for 26 units, in a three-storey building, on a 14,614-sq. ft. site with 16 parking stalls; under a new concept, which came before committee on April 12 and has yet to be formally approved, the building would have 37 units with balconies, in a three-storey building, on a 18,190-sq. ft. footprint with 26 parking stalls.
The proposed rejig would change the amount of outdoor space and would likely cut the basketball courts, said Ted Uhrich, Coquitlam’s project manager of strategic and capital projects. As well, the front door of the new community centre would need to be realigned further north.
NEED FOR SENIORS HOUSING
Uhrich cited the city’s Place Maillardville Seniors Housing Feasibility Study — conducted by a consultant last year — that showed there’s a high need for assisted-living facilities and a strong market for independent seniors living in the Tri-Cities.
The study found that the number of:
• Coquitlam residents ages 65 and older grew by 5.5% per year, between 2006-’16
• independent seniors’ units has stayed the same but care facility units has dropped by 25%
• seniors on the BC Housing Registry waitlist, between 2016-’20, rose between 6% and 17% each year
Uhrich described the Place Maillardville seniors housing project as “cutting edge in the region” as future tenants will have a new community centre next door, to recreate and socialize.
But he said it would be challenging for the city to add more density to the building — when asked by Coun. Chris Wilson and Mayor Richard Stewart — as a taller complex would obscure views for neighbours and put a strain on infrastructure.
Coun. Brent Asmundson also questioned the “real demand” for seniors housing, in a post-pandemic world. “We’re in a different world today,” he said, noting the high loss of seniors in facilities from COVID-19 as well as the design for future seniors homes. “The information that we had prior to 2020 is different than what we have in 2021 going forward, so I think that’s a game changer.”
Coun. Steve Kim also asked for city staff to have “diversity inclusion” when the Request for Proposals (RFP) goes out while Coun. Bonita Zarrillo said the complex should include energy efficiencies.
Once the RFP is approved, the land for the seniors housing would need to be subdivided and rezoned to create a separate parcel for the 60-year lease, for the non-profit partner.
A report is expected to come back to council before the public is consulted on the project.
• For more details on the new community centre, visit coquitlam.ca/placemaillardville.