Coquitlam council approves new Maillardville highrise

A new highrise is coming to Maillardville.

Coquitlam council on Monday approved the 29-storey project planned for Blue Mountain Street and Lougheed Highway following a public hearing, adding 179 units to the neighbourhood. The building will also have unique wood-tone metal panels the developer said highlights the Maillardville's history as a forestry community.

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"The site is very important for us because it is Coquitlam's gateway into Maillardville," said architect Wilson Chang. "We want to develop not just another tower that could be in Vancouver or Surrey. Want to develop a tower that speaks to this neighbourhood."

When it is built, the project will include 122 market condos and 51 market rentals plus six below-market units as well as ground-level commercial spaces. The project will include 217 residential parking spaces and 36 visitor stalls accessible from the lane proposed for the east side of the property. The building will also have a 11,695-sq. ft. amenity area with a gym, sauna and community room as well as outdoor bocce courts, children's play area and dining area.

The building is slated for the northeast corner of the intersection across from another future 21-storey tower planned for the northwest corner.

Several residents expressed concerns over traffic issues during the public hearing.

"The intersection is extremely busy," said Norma Lehto, who has a business in the neighbourhood. "I am just wondering about the amount of extra traffic a project of this scale will bring to this area when there is already tremendous problems."

Heather Stewart, who lives across the street from the development, expressed similar concerns.

"I don't know how you can add one more car in that area," she said. "Now we have two towers on opposing corners right there… I can't even get out on to Blue Mountain in the mornings these days because the traffic is backed up there."

But engineering staff said the traffic issues in the area are largely connected to the lack of a new Brunette Interchange. Coquitlam has been working with the city of New Westminster and the province to upgrade the freeway on-ramps in order to improve traffic flow in Maillardville, said Mayor Richard Stewart.

"That is the challenge and we are working with the ministry to try and get that resolved," he said.

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