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Most want more housing choices in Coquitlam

A significant number of Coquitlam residents want more affordable housing and are open to seeing a greater variety of housing types in historically detached-home neighbourhoods, according to a city survey.

A significant number of Coquitlam residents want more affordable housing and are open to seeing a greater variety of housing types in historically detached-home neighbourhoods, according to a city survey. 

The results come as planners wrestle with changes to the housing choices program, which encourages denser, ground-oriented forms — such as duplexes, triplexes and quadruplexes — while retaining neighbourhood character.

But despite survey respondents’ apparent openness to different housing types, some city councillors said the results raise new questions about what exactly residents expect from the housing choices program. 

Coun. Brent Asmundson said that while some people may want improvements to affordability, council continues to see opposition to even the smallest increases in density in detached-home neighbourhoods. 

“When we come to public hearing on a two-lot split… people don’t want that density,” he said during a committee meeting Monday. 

He added that neighbourhood character is “a word that needs to be drilled down more as to what that means.”

Coun. Craig Hodge said he has also received conflicting feedback from residents when it comes to housing choices. While many are against the subdivision of one lot into two, he noted other residents oppose large detached homes or monster homes.

Andrew Merrill, Coquitlam’s manager of community planning, said a greater range of housing choices will help increase affordability, giving people more options “between that too-expensive house and that too-small apartment.”

The housing choices program was introduced in 2011 but staff began a review of the initiative last year after seeing only limited construction of duplexes, triplexes and quadruplexes from the development community. 

The survey was conducted as part of the second phase of the review and staff said they will now look at potential changes to the housing choices program, which will be developed for council consideration and more public input likely later this year or in early 2019. 

More than 700 people took part in the online survey, which staff said was designed to find shared values related to housing forms and neighbourhood character. The questionnaire was part of the first round of consultation on the housing choices program and was conducted April 28 to May 14.

The majority of survey respondents (68%) lived in detached homes while 15% lived in a condo or apartment and 8% lived in a townhouse or rowhouse. Only 6% lived in a duplex/triplex/quadruplex while 2% lived in a basement suite. 

• More info about the housing choices review: coquitlam.ca/housingchoicesreview.

 

SURVEY QUESTIONS/RESULTS

What do you value and like most about your existing neighbourhood? 

• Parks and natural areas: 17%

• Family-friendly neighbourhood: 15%

• Quiet streets: 13%

• Proximity to transit: 13%

In 25 years time, what qualities would you like to see associated with your neighbourhood?

• Retained neighbourhood character: 16%

• More affordable housing: 16%

• Improved parks and natural spaces: 13%

• More amenities and services: 11%

What type of housing is needed in southwest Coquitlam?

• More affordable housing options: 27%

• More homes for families with children: 21%

• More compact, ground-oriented housing: 14%

• More homes for seniors: 13%

• More rental housing 13%

– source: city of Coquitlam

gmckenna@tricitynews.com