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Photos: Coquitlam just got its biggest influx of new affordable housing units in one tower

Finding affordable housing is not easy, however, a long-awaited plan for 100 below-market rental units has finally come to fruition in Coquitlam, and some people are already moving in.

With average asking rents for condos and purpose-built apartments closing in on $3,000 per month in Coquitlam, a new affordable housing project has opened to give qualifying families a bit of a break.

Depending on your income and the size of the unit, the rents could be at least $600 to $900 a month cheaper than what you'd pay elsewhere.

But you'll have to be registered with BC Housing to be considered.

This week the province and the City of Coquitlam revealed that as many as 100 affordable rental units for people on low or moderate incomes have been made available out of 308 units in the new 31-storey 55One residential rental tower, located at 551 Emerson St. in Burquitlam.

It's the biggest influx of new below non-market housing with occupancy to date, according to Genevieve Bucher, the city's director of community planning, although more is in the pipeline.

In a press conference Tuesday (May 16), attended by Premier David Eby as part of a visit to Coquitlam, which included a speech at the Tri-City Chamber of Commerce Summit, the 100 affordable units were acknowledged as part of the province's $19-billion housing commitment.

But this new development, east of Burquitlam Plaza, was stick handled by the City of Coquitlam and Concert Properties as far back as 2016.

It includes the new Betty Allard YMCA and the  Burquitlam Community Policing Office, which just opened.

A funding partnership

According to a press release, the affordable housing component of the purpose-built rental tower was funded by the province ($10.6 million) through the Building BC: Community Housing Fund.

To operate the 100 homes, 43 Housing Society, a sister society to SHARE Family and Community Services, will receive an annual operating subsidy of approximately $571,000.

Meanwhile, the City of Coquitlam contributed $3.85 million through its Affordable Housing Reserve Fund, while Metro Vancouver waived $274,000 in fees.

Concert Properties contributed $20 million to the project.

With the project now completed, some residents are already moving in, according to SHARE Society CEO Claire MacLean.

"We have welcomed seniors, young families, and adults into 55One and have received great feedback so far on the building, its wonderful amenity spaces, and proximity to SkyTrain," MacLean said.

The society is "actively reviewing applications for the low, moderate and higher income units that are not yet occupied," she said.

However, MacLean noted that applicants for subsidized housing at 55One must be registered with BC Housing.

Rents based on income

Here's what the rents will be:

For residents with low income, rents in the affordable housing units will range from $375 for a studio to $570 for a two-bedroom home.

Residents with moderate incomes will pay $394 for a studio to $1,783 for a three-bedroom home while residents at the higher income limit, rent will be $1,550 for a studio to $2,970 for a three-bedroom home.

Meanwhile, Concert Properties is currently accepting rental applications for the market rate rental units, with rents ranging from $2,020 per month for a studio to $3,750 for one of the larger two bedrooms at 898 sq. ft.

A long history in Coquitlam

It was in 2016 when Concert Properties and the City of Coquitlam signed an agreement for the developer to build a YMCA facility in conjunction with a mixed-use development on 2.1 acres of the 3.6-acre Burquitlam Park.

The deal also included a land swap to allow Coquitlam to expand Cottonwood Park.

Called the Heart of Burquitlam, the vision pursued over seven years ago has culminated today in the new neighbourhood amenities and purpose-built rental, including the affordable rental units.

Meanwhile, just down the street, as part of the land development, Concert Properties is building Myriad, a 50-storey tower with 468 condo units.

Registration for these condos is currently underway.