Plan it and the builders will come: A dynamic approach to creating community in Coquitlam

The City of Coquitlam is turning the concept of “build it, and they will come” on its head.

It is playing a leadership role in how it envisions the city’s future as a destination for families who want more than just a home.

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After extensive public engagement, two new City-owned lots next to Riley Park and the future Burke Mountain Village are ready for construction. The City has completed all the groundwork on the Smiling Creek sites, including zoning approval for approximately 70 units on a 1.69-hectare lot and 96 units on the adjoining 2.17-hectare lot. The conceptual plan shows a mix of townhouses, duplexes and triplexes — the type of housing that is in high demand in the Lower Mainland.

The Smiling Creek neighbourhood is ideal for people who value living in a dynamic community where they can walk to parks and stores, with easy access to schools and the beautiful natural surroundings of Burke Mountain.

Design guidelines are already on title, which will ensure the City’s vision is brought to life. In the near future, the City will open a public bidding process to find a developer to carry out its plans for the fully serviced land.

“Our approach is unique for a city,” says Curtis Scott, manager of land development. “We look at development from a more holistic viewpoint: how do we create a thriving and comprehensive community?”

For developers, “opportunities like this don’t come up very often,” he adds. “We’ve eliminated a lot of the risks by taking care of the rezoning. It’s turn-key for developers.”

It’s an exciting time for the Burke Mountain community. Riley Park, a 3.5-acre site adjacent to the lots, is set to open in early September. It will have an accessible playground and provide a scenic, peaceful place where people can stroll on trails and gather with friends and family. Plans also include a Discovery Centre and coffee shop to the northeast of the site. Both the park and Smiling Creek sites will be a short walk from the future Burke Mountain Village’s plaza, grocery store, recreation centre, shops and condos.

The Smiling Creek sites are now being previewed and will be brought to market via a Request for Offers process. More information about Burke Mountain planning and development can be found at www.coquitlam.ca/burkemtn.

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