An eight-lot land assembly recently sold in southwestern Coquitlam for $24.51 million, according to a report by NAI Commercial in the Western Investor.
But the sale of the 1.3-acre property for a proposed residential tower and market rental building in Oakdale is just one in a series of changes to the suburban neighbourhood that is in transition, due to its proximity to Burquitlam Station on the Millennium Line.
Oakdale, settled in the mid-1800s as a community of small farms — and later a 1960s-era neighbourhood close to schools and Burquitlam Plaza — has begun the change to become a denser community of low-rise developments to the north and towers closer to the transit station.
In February 2020, Coquitlam City Council approved bylaws for the Oakdale Landuse Development Update and an Oakdale Transportation Network Update after residents were presented with density options in 2019.
Nestled at the foot of Burnaby Mountain and close to the busy North Road/Clarke Road corridor, the community is a hidden gem between Burnaby to the west and Port Moody to the north.
To a Gardena Drive resident, and retired School District 43 maintenance worker, the change to Oakdale was inevitable once SkyTrain cars started shuttling back and forth between Coquitlam and Burnaby on the Millennium Line.
People have to live somewhere
"People have to live somewhere," said the long-time resident who asked that his name not be published.
Out walking his dog, Milo, the Oakdale resident said he participated in the city's consultation for the Oakdale plan.
What's happened since, with all the development in the works, is not surprising, he said, because the neighbourhood is so convenient and people need transit to get to work.
Still, it's a bit of a shock to drive through the neighbourhood close to where this land sale recently took place.
With so many homes boarded up, and a nearby soccer field looking under utilized, it looks like a bit of a ghost town.
However, Greater Heights Learning Academy still operates a school at the former Burquitlam Elementary School at 550 Thompson Ave. which was closed in 2003.
There is also a sign declaring the Oakdale Protected Habitat next to a small forest while another sign shows the location of the Pin Oak footpath that Oakdale neighbours fought to prevent blacktopping in 2013.
As well, there are still some homes that are occupied, providing a little bit of life on the streets, which don't have sidewalks.
Oakdale residents are also very protective of Stoney Creek, and have been raising concerns about potential contamination of the creek from sewage.
Project in pre-application phase
Meanwhile, plans for development in the area continue.
The recent land sale, brokered by NAI Commercial, occurred in October 2022 for 584–596 Kemsley Ave., 589–593 Westley Ave.; and 648–650 Gardena Dr.
A proposal for a multi-storey high-rise on the property is currently in the pre-application stage with the City of Coquitlam, according to the city's online development infomation portal,
Strand Holdings Ltd. is proposing to rezone seven properties to allow for the construction of one 28-storey market residential tower and one six-storey market rental building.
The sign on the property says the proposal is for 332 condo units and 132 rental units — with all numbers approximate and subject to change.
Across the street, at 580–600 Harrison Ave. and 581–601 Kemsley Ave., Qualex–Landmark has conditional approval for three six-storey apartment buildings and a four-storey stacked townhouse complex, the city's development portal states.
Not in a hurry to move from his home
As for the Gardena Drive resident, he's not ready yet to move from his house, where he raised his children who went to Miller Park Elementary and Banting Middle School before Burquitlam Elementary was built in 1970.
Although he expects his property to eventually become a high-rise one day, he's content to stay in the walkable neighbourhood, with his wife, who grew up in Maillardville.
As he told the Tri-City News: "I'm not in a hurry [to move] as long as I can get around."