Strip mall OK'd for Coquitlam intersection

A rendering of Tideways proposed strip mall on Como Lake Avenue, near Poirier Street in Coquitlam. - COURTESY OF CITY OF COQUITLAM
A rendering of Tideways proposed strip mall on Como Lake Avenue, near Poirier Street in Coquitlam.

A controversial property near a busy Coquitlam intersection will soon have a strip mall, a decision that neighbours warn will exacerbate problems in the area.

This week, city council unanimously approved second and third readings to rezone 1649 Como Lake Ave., next to the Chevron gas station at Poirier Street, from residential to commercial use.

Dionne Delasalle of Tideways Developments said his group wants to combine the vacant land with the adjacent commercial lot, where there used to be a Harbour Mart grocery store, to build the four-unit mall.

During an hour-long public hearing on Monday, council heard from nine speakers — including Delasalle — with most opposed to the proposal.

Delasalle said there has been plenty of crime at the old Harbour Mart, including vandalism and theft, and Tideways wants to clean up the two properties that have been empty and neglected for years. While Tideways has yet to secure tenants for the mall, Delasalle said his company is working with the same broker that handles the Como Lake Village leases.

Still, many neighbours told council not all the storefronts at Como Lake Village are filled and they don't believe the area needs more retail space. Customers of the Chevron station have clogged the corner and created traffic hazards, they added. And they worry another business that has long hours would ruin their quality of life and lower property values (the gas station is open until midnight).

Coun. Craig Hodge's motion to have a covenant on the new mall hours was defeated, with votes against from councillors Terry O'Neill, Mae Reid, Lou Sekora and Bonita Zarrillo, who said they didn't want to tie the developer's hands.

Still, all councillors wanted to see the land use changed. Two years ago, the property owners Choon Ja and Change Suk Soh said through a spokesperson they had tried to sell their land four times but couldn't find a buyer; they applied for a rezoning but neighbours successfully rallied council to stop it from becoming commercial space.


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