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Fifth neighbourhood for Coquitlam's Burke Mountain is a tough sell: survey

About half of Burke Mountain residents polled about a new neighbourhood slated to be built at the top of Coast Meridian Road don't want it — including the area property owners.
The Hazel-Coy neighbourhood is a the northern end of Coast Meridian Road in Coquitlam.

About half of Burke Mountain residents polled about a new neighbourhood slated to be built at the top of Coast Meridian Road don't want it — including the area property owners.

Those are the findings of a six-month city survey for the Hazel-Coy neighbourhood, a semi-rural enclave where the municipality is planning to add 950 more homes for 2,750 people.

Last week, city staff revealed 53 per cent of the Hazel-Coy respondents don't want development in their neighbourhood, while 48 per cent of Northeast Coquitlam participants also aren't OK with it.

The biggest pushback is on the environmental front, city staff said, with 86 per cent of all respondents opposed to the impacts — that is, a loss of trees, canopy and wildlife habitat.

Others voiced concern about the proposed Oxford-Coast Meridian extension that, if built, would create a secondary route to and from Hazel-Coy and Pinecone Burke Provincial Park.

Members of the Port Coquitlam & District Hunting and Fishing Club, which is on Crown land and within the new neighbourhood, also want the organization to stay at its current site.

Still, following an earlier report from Metro Vancouver on its regional growth strategy update, council-in-committee on Nov. 1 urged city staff to press on with their Hazel-Coy outreach and work, saying Coquitlam has to reach the housing targets it has committed to for the region.

The Hazel-Coy plan is set to go before stakeholders for another round of input next spring. 

In the meantime, the committee heard, city staff will review the environmental consultants’ work, as well as look at a Hyde Creek bridge crossing, a trail access to Crystal Falls, identify an elementary school site, and create a vision for a community node and future tourism, community planner Glen Chua and senior planner Kristen Elkow told council-in-committee.

Plans to develop Hazel-Coy began with the original Northeast Coquitlam Area Plan (NECAP) but were shelved due to neighbourhood opposition. As a result, four new neighbourhoods for Burke Mountain moved forward: Upper Hyde Creek, Lower Hyde Creek, Smiling Creek and Partington Creek. Hazel-Coy is now part of the Northwest Burke Vision, adopted in 2017.

“The Hazel-Coy area has been waiting for over 20 years for a plan to be done,” said Coun. Brent Asmundson, a Burke Mountain resident. “It has been a long time coming.”

“It’s not developing and taking down all the trees,” he continued. “We need housing.”

Coun. Teri Towner, who noted the Oxford extension has been on the books for years, said development versus tree loss is a divisive issue although “a plethora of trees are still there.”

“On my time on council,” she said, “it seems be a louder, stronger narrative that people who already live in housing in our city are against other people living in housing in our city.”

However, Coun. Trish Mandewo pointed to the survey results for Hazel-Coy. “This is a small neighbourhood and it’s been going on for a long time. I would have expected more,” she said.

Coun. Dennis Marsden said it’s time for a decision. “This has obviously been talked about over two decades. Given the time that’s passed, we need to get certainty for these people,” he said. “I really don’t want to see this drag out and continue to drag out year after year.”