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Residents petition against new land use
A 250-name petition was submitted to the city of Coquitlam yesterday (Thursday) to oppose plans for a piece of city land at the centre of Burke Mountain development.
Riley Street residents James Sanderson, Corine Carey and Ashley Lequyer started collecting signatures from their neighbours and others last week. And they said they were surprised that not many homeowners knew about the city’s proposal to re-designate 35 acres from a joint middle school/community centre and surrounding single-family units to mostly townhouses with few amenities nearby.
If approved, the change in the Northeast Coquitlam Area Plan would result in hundreds more residents, which in turn would add more pressure to the area, they said.
Carey said the neighbourhood is already jammed with cars as, like many Burke homes, theirs were built with one-car garages and little space for visitors’ vehicles. As well, they’re concerned about the lack of green space in the proposed development since backyards are scarce and there’s little outdoor room for kids to play.
In addition, they’ve launched a Facebook page to gather thoughts from their neighbours about the city’s plans (search “Burke Mountain Community”).
“What they’re doing affects this community,” said Sanderson who also voiced concern about the limited notification by the city about the application.
Ian Radnidge, Coquit-lam’s acting manager of development services, said the city is doing an early call for public input on the bid as per Section 879 in the Local Government Act. And he said, since it was advertised, the city has received some interest from residents — especially on the official community plan change for the 18 acres the city designated for the middle school site for School District 43 (the school district did not return a request for comment by The Tri-City News’ print deadline).
“The school district has indicated that area is not needed for a middle school because they have another area designated in Partington Creek,” Radnidge said, adding SD43 has four school sites identified in the neighbourhood.
As for the community centre, the city intends to build it in Partington, Radnidge said.
Still, land use isn’t the only change tied to the application. The city is also planning to take out references for two affordable housing sites. With the Affordable Housing Strategy coming before council soon, city staff want to have more “flexibility” with the policy by not specifically designating properties for low-cost housing.
Radnidge said city staff want to allow partnerships between government and non-profit agencies — such as those with the YWCA at Como Lake Gardens in Burquitlam for single moms and their kids and with BC Housing for a homeless and transitional shelter 3030 Gordon Ave. — to occur where it’s needed most.
Meanwhile, Sanderson, Carey and Lequyer said they’re ready to make their case before city council when the matter is expected to go to public hearing on July 28; first reading will be considered by council on July 7.