Sky Train to Coquitlam would bring increased development

By Matthew Burrows

A Coquitlam city councillor is convinced that the long-anticipated SkyTrain line will bring “exploding” development to her municipality.

“About 55 percent of our rental housing stock is right around where the Burquitlam Station is going to be,” Coun. Selina Robinson told the Georgia Straight by phone. “And we know from experience that that is going to be a very hot market for high density. And we want there to be higher density, transit-oriented development.”

But Robinson said that preserving rental stock is important, and cited her son, Aaron, as an example of the type of person who benefits from its presence. The 22-year-old has just graduated from Western University in London, Ontario.

“He says he wants to come back,” Robinson said. “He prefers life here, but he says he can’t figure out how he would have the independence that he is accustomed to. I mean, really, now with an undergrad [degree], where are you going to work? You make $15 an hour.”

Robinson said she hopes Aaron doesn’t have to stay in his parents’ “basement” indefinitely because of financial constraints. She said council’s committee of the whole debated the city’s Transit-Oriented Development Strategy on July 9, which City of Coquitlam planners Ryan Perry and Robyn Newton put together.

Two open houses gauged public opinion last month, according to the report. Regarding rental stock, the report states that 53 percent of respondents support the city playing a role in “creating rental housing in station areas”. Burquitlam contains 1,252 purpose-built market rental units close to the awaited rapid-transit station. According to the report, that’s 23 percent of the 5,380 purpose-built rental units.

Coquitlam staff is expected to report back to council in September with a draft set of policies.

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