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Sunday, September 24, 2023

4,700 homes, up to 41 storeys proposed for Coquitlam riverfront

A master-planned development more than a decade in the making will transform the riverfront south of Highway 1 in Coquitlam.

It’s an area that’s definitely under the radar, sandwiched between United Boulevard and the Fraser River. The closest most people get to the site, known as Fraser Mills, is during an IKEA run.

Now Beedie Living, owners of the property for more than a decade, are proposing to add additional residential density to the site. A neighbourhood plan for the site was adopted in 2008 by the City of Coquitlam, but citing changing market conditions, Beedie Living is proposing several changes, including:

  • adding 1,000 residential units to the site, bringing the total from the currently approved 3,400-3,700 units to a proposed maximum of 4,700 units;
  • increasing the number of towers on the site from 10 to 15, and increasing the height of the tallest (signature) tower from 38-storeys to 41-storeys;
  • expanding the plan area by including the now-vacant AirCare site, which would be incorporated into a proposed production and retail node;
  • removing planned multi-storey industrial buildings and reducing the amount of planned commercial floorspace on the site;
  • removing the potential elementary school site from the plan

The removal of the proposed elementary school came at the request of School District No. 43, which informed the City of Coquitlam that it no longer required a site within the Fraser Mills development, and instead would increase the capacity of existing elementary schools nearby.

The revised development will also include:

  • proposed 40,000 sq ft. public community centre, including aquatics (to be negotiated with Beedie Living);
  • 16.35 acres of public park space;
  • new 50 metre public pier on the Fraser River, and upgrades to the existing Kiewit Wharf to make it accessible to the public;
  • waterfront pedestrian and cycling trail (to be constructed in phases);
  • 185 units of rental housing on-site, including 93 market units and 92 below market units;
  • 228,700 sq ft. of commercial floor space including a grocery store;
  • four-storey strata office building with retail on the ground floor
Beedie Fraser Mills Coquitlam neighbourhood plan
Neighbourhood plan for Fraser Mills, showing the form of development, pier and extension of King Edward Street south to the riverfront. Credit: City of Coquitlam
Beedie Fraser Mills Coquitlam rec centre
A recreation facility and new public pier is proposed on the Fraser River. Credit: City of Coquitlam
Beedie Fraser Mills Coquitlam North node
Rendering of the North Node, a mixed-use production, retail and innovation hub at Fraser Mills. Credit: City of Coquitlam

The City of Coquitlam sees the development, and especially the proposed public community centre, as an opportunity to create a significant civic presence on the waterfront.

A city council document dated October 17, 2017 states:

“The location of a civic space at Fraser Mills would build on the history of Coquitlam and the role that the river has played in its development. In tandem with the new waterfront park, pier, plaza and wharf, the City would be well placed to deliver recreational value to residents and to showcase a stunning array of assets and public places to redefine the City’s brand and facilities in this new neighbourhood.”

“Supplemented by other surrounding park amenities, including active and passive outdoor spaces, outdoor spray/water play, and a range of outdoor recreation opportunities, the City would be in a position to deliver a memorable and iconic waterfront experience which does not exist in Coquitlam today.”

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Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner is an experienced journalist and media relations professional, based in Vancouver. As founder of urbanYVR.com, he has been reporting on urban development across the Lower Mainland since 2016, and has also served as vice-chair of the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee. In October 2022, he was elected to Vancouver city council and is no longer actively reporting for urbanYVR.

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