Port Coquitlam looks at PoCo Place towers, a new Pitt River community

Stephen Bugbee, a partner with Zeidler Architecture in Calgary, speaks to the city of Port Coquitlam's committee February 26 | Janis Cleugh, Tri-City News

Two major projects that would add another 5,000 residents to Port Coquitlam’s borders were pitched by developers this week.

Tuesday, at the city’s committee of council, Marwest Development Corp. and Quantum Properties offered preliminary designs of their residential and commercial visions.

Neither bid has been officially submitted for council consideration.

Under Marwest’s plans, it intends to replace PoCo Place — a mall built in 1980 at the corner of Lougheed Highway and Westwood Street, where Michael's and Pomme are currently tenants — with about 1,000 new homes in three high-rises and townhouses.

As well, Marwest plans to double the amount of retail and add 75,000 sq. ft. of office space plus a public market and an underground parkade.

“It’s really about building in a vibrancy and walkability while respecting the householders in the neighbourhood,” said Stephen Bugbee, a partner with Zeidler Architecture who represented Marwest at the committee meeting.

Bugbee said if the proposal goes ahead, Marwest would look at affordable and accessible housing options, especially for seniors, with 25% of its stock for rent.

Mayor Brad West suggested Marwest also consider building larger homes for families.

The company still has much work to do with its concept, Bugbee said, and a traffic study would also look at future development and vehicle flows on the other side of Westwood Street, in the city of Coquitlam.

Congestion at the intersection “is already a nightmare,” Coun. Dean Washington warned, and will only get worse with additional residents and shoppers.

Marwest president Scott Craig did not immediately return a request for comment.

Meanwhile, on the east end of town, Quantum Properties is eyeing another 1,000 homes for a waterfront community along the Pitt River.

President and CEO Diane Delves and her son, Robert, spoke about the company’s bid to build on the former Wild Duck Inn site and surrounding lands for a marine commercial-focused development, at 750 Kingsway Ave.

If approved, it would include a public boat launch, boardwalk, restaurant, daycare and other marine-related amenities; the project wouldn’t be big enough to prompt a new school, she said.

The “complex” proposal would involve a number of government approvals while the area requires dredging, Delves added.

As well, future residents and shoppers would need to drive into the site, around the western base of the Pitt River Bridge ramp.

Committee members said they’re concerned about the access, should the development move forward.

“I don’t know if this is the right area for high density,” Mayor West said, noting services and schools aren’t close by. “The reality is that the cost of fixing the site is so significant that, to make the economics work, it requires a number of homes.”

West, who is also vice chair of Metro Vancouver’s Industrial Lands Strategy Task Force, also said industrial sites are disappearing and the region needs to safeguard larger properties to secure good-paying jobs.

A request for comment from Rob Delves was not immediately returned.

If OK’d by council, the Marwest and Quantum’s proposals would add about 5,000 more residents to PoCo — the same number of new residents that came into the downtown over the past decade, when council rezoned the core for high density.

Tri-City News