Beedie Living said it intends to operate a private shuttle bus that will connect residents at its proposed Fraser Mills development in southwest Coquitlam with nearby rapid transit.
David Roppel, the company’s director of residential development, said details are still being worked out with the city but Beedie envisions a service that would run every 30 minutes between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
“This would be a shuttle that would take residents from Fraser Mills to, we are thinking, Lougheed SkyTrain station throughout the work day and bring people from Lougheed Station to Fraser Mills,” he told The Tri-City News Wednesday.
While Braid Station is much closer to Fraser Mills, Roppel said Lougheed is being eyed because there is more room for a shuttle drop-off area. He also noted Lougheed allows commuters to travel in more directions without having to make a transfer.
Roppel stressed that it is still early in the planning process but it is likely there would be more than one stop in Fraser Mills before the bus goes directly to SkyTrain. He added that the vehicle would be similar to the 30-seat community shuttles operated by TransLink.
Discussion about the shuttle service came up during a committee meeting Monday at which Beedie Living representatives provided council with an update on the project. The company said it is moving closer to getting shovels in the ground on the first phase of the development, which has been in the planning stages for more than a decade.
But while progress has been made, negotiations are expected to continue before the city and the company come to a final agreement.
Several councillors said Monday they want to see more daycare spaces included earlier in the development phasing, something Roppel said the company is open to accommodating.
Coun. Brent Asmundson said he wants Beedie to move up its plans for a crossing over Como Creek at Brigantine Drive as such a bridge would improve connectivity to the industrial lands in the east and compel TransLink to re-route its existing bus service in the area to accommodate the development.
“Putting that connection in early would put a lot of pressure on TransLink to provide that service sooner,” he said.
Beedie Living has always planned on including a fourth entry point to Fraser Mills over Como Creek, Roppel said, but he told The Tri-City News the company is still “working through the triggers” for when that infrastructure would be built.
Beedie’s presentation comes at a time when ominous signs are beginning to appear in the residential real estate market.
Last week, The Vancouver Sun reported that Ledingham McAllister would be postponing the launch of pre-sales for three highrise projects, including one in Coquitlam. And that report came a week after Townline confirmed it would also be temporarily holding off on launching pre-sales for its 38-storey Meridian project in Burquitlam.
But Beedie Group president Ryan Beedie shrugged off the market turmoil during Monday’s committee meeting, saying Fraser Mills is a 20-year project and, during that time, the market is likely to experience multiple fluctuations.
Still, he added, “If there’s no market, we can’t build.”
Beedie also said his company is structured differently from some of its competitors and can start projects without necessarily securing financing from the banks.
“We don’t need the same level of pre-sales as other developers would,” he told councillors.
For now, discussions between the city and the developer are ongoing, said Jim McIntyre, Coquitlam’s director of development services. He added that he hopes to have an agreement that is acceptable to council firmed up with the company by the end of the year.
“We really need to close the gap on some of these issues,” he said. “We need to get these things nailed down so we are all in agreement.”
CHANGE PLANNED FOR PIER, TOO
Early renderings of the Fraser Mills development showed a long pier jutting out into the Fraser River, similar to what is seen on the beach in White Rock.
But Beedie Living has since revised the proposal to be a D-shaped dock that runs parallel with the shoreline promenade.
David Roppel, the company’s director of residential development, said the new planned pier is actually longer than the original and will make the walkway more accessible.