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Coquitlam expresses concerns about Sapperton Green

Bentall Kennedy has proposed a major mixed-use development at the 38-acre site located next to Braid Street SkyTrain station. - Artist rendering/Bentall Kennedy
Bentall Kennedy has proposed a major mixed-use development at the 38-acre site located next to Braid Street SkyTrain station.
— image credit: Artist rendering/Bentall Kennedy

Coquitlam city council has found another reason to criticize New Westminster.

On Monday, Coquitlam councillors attacked a vehicle access off of Brunette Avenue identified by New West as a possible entrance for the proposed 38-acre Sapperton Green development.

They claimed it will only add congestion to the already busy street.

“This is so outrageous what New Westminster is wanting to do,” said Coun. Terry O’Neill. “Sapperton Green, I’d like to make it Sapperton Has Been. With all the Sapperton issues they’ve been talking about, to put this thing before us and propose this? Even for their own benefit, how do their own people expect to get out of here and moving around?”

The development is currently undergoing an official community plan review.

There is only one existing access to the site at Braid and Rousseau streets. The city, TransLink and the provincial transportation ministry have found an alternative access point off the Brunette Avenue/Highway 1 overpass for consideration. But Coquitlam opposes it because it will increase congestion at the busy interchange.

Coun. Mae Reid said it’s strange New West claims gridlock for the Brunette-Braid intersection when its council opposed a two-lane Bailey bridge on Braid while proposing to add more traffic to the area with Sapperton Green.

“Something’s just a little odd here,” said Reid. “I just don’t know how they can expect to put this in and we will have no access onto Brunette Avenue. This isn’t getting any better. This is unconscionable.”

Reid pointed out that several years ago Coquitlam rejected a proposal for a large development across the Brunette River from Hume Park—called the Crane site—because of traffic issues in New Westminster.

“It’s quite disconcerting because when we had an application for the Crane site it was an absolute no-go because of the traffic that would have to go into New Westminster,” said Reid. “If [Sapperton Green] goes ahead, then I suggest we re-look at Crane and run it right up by Hume Park. That’s what we didn’t do as a good neighbour.”

Mayor Richard Stewart noted the New West city staff report cited six transportation principles for mitigating the development’s impacts on transportation.

“None of them are related to rubber on asphalt,” said Stewart. “It’s as though they are developing an entire neighbourhood without cars. I’m really trying to understand it, and it’s not our purpose to judge their community, but it’s going to have an impact on neighbouring communities as things typically do and I’m not sure they’ve given any thought to this.”

Chuck Puchmayr

New Westminster Coun. Chuck Puchmayr

 

New Westminster Coun. Chuck Puchmayr said the development is in line with Metro Vancouver’s livable region plan because Sapperton Green is adjacent to the Braid SkyTrain station.

“[New Westminster was] identified as a town centre and dense growth around transit [was encouraged] and that’s exactly what we’re doing so we can take cars off roads,” said Puchmayr.

He said the best place for new residents to the region to live is close to SkyTrain. “That’s responsible growth, and I’m surprised that Mayor Stewart as part of Metro Vancouver doesn’t see that.”

Before they voted to pass on their concerns, the rest of Coquitlam council was chastised by one of their own.

“We might disagree with what they want to do [but] I don’t think we’re gaining anything by publicly shaming them and embarrassing them. We need to try to repair our relationship,” said Coun. Chris Wilson.

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