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LedMac asked Coquitlam to rush its plans. Council didn't like it

On Monday, May 6, councillors ripped into LedMac for being tone deaf to council’s recommendations and chastised the company for trying to expedite its application.

A year after a developer brought forward a master-planned community for Coquitlam’s City Centre, councillors say they’re upset about the lack of changes they sought for the housing project to move ahead.

Last year, Ledingham McAllister (LedMac) laid out its Stratford Wynd proposal for 1145 Inlet St. that, if approved, would see a 25-storey residential market tower, eight mid-rise residential buildings with about 1,115 units — including a six-storey market rental building with 135 units — and a 57-space childcare facility to be constructed in seven phases, off Pipeline Road.

At the time, council pressed LedMac to work with city staff and governments to add non- and below-market housing to its proposed stock, as well as fine-tune other areas — like a path to Maple Creek Middle — in its plans.

On Monday, May 6, councillors ripped into LedMac’s Dan Giordano for being tone deaf to council’s recommendations and chastised the company for trying to expedite its application prior to the BC Building Code deadline of March 10, 2025, for adaptable dwellings and earthquake changes.

Coun. Dennis Marsden was not at the meeting (see below).

LedMac’s request to hurry the project was greeted with jeers as city staff say they’re trying to untangle the new provincial housing rules.

City manager Raul Allueva told LedMac that civic planners are “overwhelmed” by the workload to adjust city policies, aimed at easing the housing crisis, and there “are absolutely no guarantees” that LedMac would be able to obtain approvals and permits by next March as sought by the company.

Earlier in the meeting, Giordano warned the 1,100 units would be “at risk” of being more unaffordable — costing up to $100,000 more per suite — if the Official Community Plan change and the permits were not OK’d by next spring.

“We need to push it through to preserve these [units],” he said.

Still, for two hours, the committee drilled LedMac about its year-long delay, which council claims resulted in few changes to the bid.

Rather than providing below-market housing, as requested by council, LedMac said it will implement a first responders’ purchasing program — similar to its other housing sites around Metro Vancouver — to give police, firefighters, paramedics, teachers and other professionals priority for home sales.

But Coun. Matt Djonlic said the lack of below-market housing “is pretty shocking to me” given the loss of 113 townhouses on the eight-acre parcel.

“A project this size has to have below-market,” added Coun. Craig Hodge.

However, Giordano said the focus at this time shouldn’t be on deeply subsidized housing but rather getting homes built “as fast as possible because [interest] rates are increasing” as are construction costs.

Giordano argued LedMac is providing several amenities for future strata owners, saying, “We thought we were going above and beyond.”

He said he understood city hall’s frustration with Victoria’s new rules.

But he also pointed out that under the government’s legislation, LedMac has the ability to build more and higher given its proximity to a transit station; in addition, some of its amenity contributions are voluntary.

Indeed, in the council report, city staff state the property is eligible for a density of 3.0 Floor Area Ratio (FAR) and building height of eight storeys per the provincial government regulations.

As for offsite improvements, such as a forested path from the site to Maple Creek Middle School, council and Giordano sparred.

City staff said they see the value of LedMac cutting a corridor to the nearby school; however, it’s not a legal requirement, said Jaime Boan, Coquitlam’s general manager of engineering and public works.

As for the request to rush the proposal, Coun. Robert Mazzarolo had some choice words before the committee wrapped up.

“We treat everyone the same. Where you are in the line is where you are in the line.”


Absent councillor

A city councillor has been away for several civic meetings over the past two weeks.

According to data supplied by city staff today, May 7, Coun. Dennis Marsden attended two out of eight scheduled meetings: a closed and an open council meeting, both on April 22.

But Marsden was not at the committee meeting on April 22 and has missed the following meetings:

  • April 23: in-camera finance meeting
  • April 23: in-camera strategic priorities meeting
  • April 30: town hall
  • May 6: committee meeting
  • May 6: in-camera council meeting

In an email to the Tri-City News, Marsden wrote he is away for personal reasons and has limited email access given his location.

“I will circle back with colleagues upon my return to update on any pressing issues,” he wrote.