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Coquitlam should build 'conventional' townhomes: councillor

Townhomes shouldn't be studio units or have just one bedroom, Coquitlam Coun. Robert Mazzarolo argues.

Some 59 townhouses — in stacked and side-by-side forms — are planned for a rapidly growing neighbourhood in Coquitlam.

But the size of the homes isn't sitting well with at least one city councillor.

Coun. Robert Mazzarolo voted down the first reading of the bid by Domus Projects, which is proposing the varied townhomes in seven buildings over a shared parking lot at 591, 595, 599, 605 and 611 Harrison Ave., in the Burquitlam enclave of Oakdale.

Coun. Brent Asmundson was not present for the vote on July 31. The public hearing on the rezoning application will be held on Sept. 11.

According to a report from Chris McBeath, Coquitlam's acting director of development services, the assembled 1.25-acre site would have:

  • Four studio townhomes
  • 10 one-bedroom townhomes
  • 28 two-bedroom townhomes
  • 17 three-bedroom townhomes

However, Mazzarolo said that given the number of condos being constructed or planned for Oakdale, the city should be sticking with more family-sized units — that is, with two or three bedrooms each.

Townhomes "are a type of housing that is so desperately needed," he added.

"I do not believe that we should be trading off conventional townhouses for this."

Still, Mayor Richard Stewart argued the project calls for a different type of housing that is more family- and senior-friendly than apartments as the compact townhomes would each have outdoor access and few steps.

As for surrounding amenities, McBeath wrote in his report, there would be a bird-watching trail and seating area nearby at Consultation Creek, a tributary of Stoney Creek, on the northwestern portion of the property, as well as a children’s play area, an outdoor seating section and two pieces of art.

Currently, there are nine active development bids close to the site that, if fully constructed, will provide more than 1,700 new units for Oakdale, a historic area at the base of Burnaby Mountain and within about a 10-minute walk to the Burquitlam SkyTrain station.

If approved by council following the public hearing, the Domus development would bring in the following for the city:

  • $1.9 million in development cost charges
  • $175,000 in community amenity contributions
  • $67,000 for the child care reserve fund
  • $1,100 for transportation demand management

The public hearing is on Sept. 11, 7 p.m. at Coquitlam City Hall (3000 Guildford Way). Those interested in participating can visit the city's website to register.