A dilapidated road at the base of Burke Mountain will be upgraded for future development in Partington Creek, the busiest neighbourhood in northeast Coquitlam.
But the massive infrastructure project that will also include utility and environmental works in the area will cost more than first budgeted, council heard on Monday.
Jaime Boan, Coquitlam’s general manager of public works and engineering, told council-in-committee that the capital works for and around Cedar Drive — located next to the blueberry farms — will come in at $16.5 million, about $3 million more because of the need to “pre-load” the road with fill as well as install a bigger pump station.
The new pump station will be the last for Burke Mountain, an area where the city is planning for 50,000 residents in the neighbourhoods of Partington Creek, Smiling Creek, Upper Hyde Creek and Lower Hyde Creek plus in the proposed four neighbourhoods to the north and west: Hazel-Coy, Burke Mountain Creek, Riverwalk and Goodyear Creek.
Mark Zaborniak, Coquitlam’s manager of design and construction, said the Cedar Drive Upgrade Project is the "largest and most complex work," in the five-year capital plan, for the engineering and public works department. And the fill pre-load to move, raise and widen Cedar Drive — so it’s above the floodplain — is set to begin this spring. It will take 18 months for the soil to settle before construction starts.
Besides the new road, which will also have a pathway and lighting, the city will:
• put in a new sewer line along Cedar Drive to link up to Upper Victoria Drive
• improve Partington Creek with more riparian areas
• create a drainage channel off the creek
Boan said the project will be paid for mostly with development cost charges but he hopes the additional bills will be offset by using excavation material from local developers, and a $5.1-million federal grant that the city applied for, for drainage works.
For the Cedar Drive Upgrade Project to proceed, the city bought (or is in the process of purchasing) strips of land from four private property owners, totalling 7.22 acres, where the new road will be built; to date, the city has acquired 4.94 acres.
Zaborniak told the Tri-City News that the Deboville Slough paths — south of Cedar Drive — will stay open during the construction. “However, we will be working on Cedar Drive so there will be impacts to anyone travelling that route along Cedar Drive,” he wrote in an email. “We are looking for ways to mitigate the impacts, as much as possible, and will be doing our best to keep all stakeholders informed on the construction activities.”
Coun. Brent Asmundson said the city should get credit for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, by not importing fill it through other municipalities.
But Coun. Bonita Zarrillo, who opposed the project, said she was concerned with the lack of forecasted operational costs, in the engineering report to council.
And Zarrillo queried about species-at-risk when the fill goes in for the road; however, Zaborniak countered the excavation material will go over top of farming land and “we don’t have to check for species because of where it’s going,” he said.
Coquitlam’s road and utility projects at the base of Burke Mountain also tie in with the infrastructure work in north Port Coquitlam, which borders the city.
Currently, the only north-south streets from Burke Mountain into PoCo are Cedar Drive — where PoCo has installed speed bumps — and Coast Meridian Road.
In the Cedar Drive Upgrade Project report, Coquitlam shows a third north-south route for the future Fremont Connector, running along Fremont Street to Lincoln Avenue; an alternate route is marked slightly to the east, through farm land, joining at Lincoln.
In 2015, PoCo city council selected the Fremont Connector route as running from the Coquitlam border to Devon Road, Prairie Avenue and Burns Road. That arterial, when built, will link up with the Lougheed Highway and the Mary Hill Bypass.
The Tri-City News, which has reported on the Fremont Connector proposal for more than a decade, contacted the Coquitlam and PoCo engineering departments on Wednesday about the status of the future connector; however, both municipalities responded with identical statements:
“The Fremont Connector was identified as an important arterial connection to accommodate the growing needs of the northeast sector of Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam,” wrote Coquitlam’s Dragan Mitic and PoCo’s Forrest Smith, in separate emails. “It is currently included in the city’s Official Community Plan and Master Transportation Plan. We are in the early stages of planning for this connection and assessing possible options. Next steps will be determined once a feasible route has been established.”
• A public information session will be held in April via Zoom to answer question on the Cedar Drive Upgrade Project. Call 604-927-3515, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit coquitlam.ca/cedardrive to learn more about the capital work.