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Austin towers will go to public hearing in Coquitlam

Coquitlam residents will get their chance to weigh in on a proposed development that would see two towers built on the former Safeway site on Austin Avenue.
Beedie Living wants to build a 26-storey west tower with 170 units and a 27-storey east tower with 186 units, including a total 10 non-market housing units; the towers would bookend a new Safeway on Austin Avenue that is scheduled to open next summer.

Coquitlam residents will get their chance to weigh in on a proposed development that would see two towers built on the former Safeway site on Austin Avenue.

Beedie Living is seeking a variance that, if approved, would allow it to exceed the 25-storey cap set for the area in last year’s neighbourhood plan. 

The developer wants to build a 26-storey west tower with 170 units and a 27-storey east tower with 186 units, including a total 10 non-market housing units; the towers would bookend a new Safeway that is scheduled to open next summer. 

Because the property slopes and has a 21-foot grade, the company said the towers would appear to be 25-storeys from Ridgeway Avenue on the north side of the site.

During first reading, several councillors expressed frustration that they were being asked to waive the height restriction so soon after the implementation of the neighbourhood plan. 

“What happened to the 25-storey cap?” asked Coun. Dennis Marsden. 

Mayor Richard Stewart predicted a public backlash if the height variance was approved for the two towers. He said Beedie Living knew of the requirements when it purchased the site and there is no reason to ask for a variance “other than they don’t want to do it or don’t feel like it.”

Still, council voted in favour of sending the project to a public hearing, which will be held Monday evening. 

Extending the height cap is not the only variance being sought by Beedie. The company said a portion of the parking lot will have to be above ground because of water table issues but the stalls will be hidden by residential and commercial uses or screened with metal panelling.

The Safeway will be located on lands formerly occupied by a Chevron gas station that is currently being remediated.

Residents can speak to the proposal during Monday’s public hearing, which will take place in council chambers (3000 Guildford Way) at 7 p.m. For more information and the full public hearing agenda, go to www.coquitlam.ca.

 

BURQUITLAM

A proposal for a 41-storey tower in Burquitlam is also on Coquitlam council’s public hearing agenda Monday. 

The Amacon Developments project would be located at Foster Avenue and North Road and comprise a 304-unit highrise and a six-storey, 93-unit rental building. The site is currently home to two three-storey apartment buildings with 89 rental units.

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

@gmckennaTC