Huge affordable housing project in Port Coquitlam passes major hurdle

Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West says 302-unit project seeking rezoning is the largest affordable housing development the city has seen in decades

An artist's rendering of an affordable rental housing development on Kingsway Avenue in Port CoquitlamScreengrab/City of Port Coquitlam

In what’s being called the largest affordable rental project in the city in decades, a 302-unit non-market rental proposal near downtown Port Coquitlam moved to the next approval stage this week.

On Tuesday (June 29), city council gave third reading to rezone a land assembly at 2455-2475 Gately Ave., 2428-2492 Kingsway Ave. and 2420 and 2450 Ticehurst Lane for a six-storey residential building with child care for 48 children.

PoCo Mayor Brad West is calling the proposal a major enhancement to the city’s stock of affordable housing. “It’s the most significant increase in affordable housing in Port Coquitlam in decades,” West said. “It’s something I take a lot of pride in.”

According to a city staff report, the project is in the “public interest,” so every effort is being made to “expedite” it through city hall processes.

West said he was approached by the proponent, Affordable Housing Society, when he was elected mayor. 

Affordable Housing, which already runs non-profit housing in PoCo, will be the owner-operator of the apartment, if approved by council. 

The site is close to the Coquitlam River and within walking distance of schools, downtown PoCo and transit. And it would offer opportunities to enhance pedestrian and cycling connections in the area and improve a green belt near the Coquitlam River, a city report reads.

Once built, the apartment will provide affordable rental housing in 129 one-bedroom, 123 two-bedroom and 48 three-bedroom apartment units that range in size from 474 sq. ft. to 861 sq. ft. The units include 60 adaptable and 30 accessible suites for residents with disabilities.

More than 1,000 trees, shrus to be planted on property near Coquitlam River

To complete the project, the developer would have to buy two city properties, including a parcel on the corner of Kingsway, and a lane, with funds from the sale to go to the city’s land reserve. 

As for the increased traffic, the plan is to improve the Gately/Kingsway Avenue intersection and include road dedications to meet road width requirements.

As well, a transportation report recommends construction of a three-metre wide multi-use pathway along Kingsway Avenue and connection of the Coquitlam River Trail between Gately and Kingsway avenues.

Redeveloping the property — now home to some residential and small industrial buildings — would require the removal of 41 trees.

But the landscaping plan, described as “robust” by city staff, would see 91 new trees including several planted in the riparian area near the river, as well as 12 additional street trees. 

The plan also proposes a mixture of 1,079 shrubs, 660 grasses, 467 perennials and 428 ground-cover plants with an additional mixture of 775 shrubs, 127 perennials and 325 ground-cover plants in the watercourse protection area.