COQUITLAM, B.C., April 14, 2021 – Coquitlam will soon begin searching for a not-for-profit operator to partner on a new seniors’ affordable housing building planned for Maillardville.
The City recently wrapped up a feasibility study that considered different seniors’ housing options for a portion of the site of the aging Place Maillardville Community Centre (PMCC), due to be torn down after its replacement is constructed next door in 2022.
Staff will be moving ahead with plans for a potential minimum 37-unit seniors’ affordable housing building on the City-owned site, alongside the public plaza and park planned for the location.
Innovative Project Planned for Site
The proposed three-storey building would have primarily studio and one-bedroom units, whose residents could take advantage of nearby seniors’ programming at the new PMCC. The feasibility study considered two building concepts and recommended the design with 37, rather than 26 units, in order to maximize site value and economies of scale. Staff will continue to refine the building design working through the process with the successful operator.
The planned approach would see Coquitlam providing a low-cost 60-year ground lease to a not-for-profit housing partner, which would be responsible for all development approvals and permits and for acquiring the necessary provincial or federal funding to construct and operate the building. This structure would ensure the project is financially viable for the City, and will target a range of affordable rents, subject to senior government partnership.
Project Will Help Address Housing Crunch
The study identified a clear need for new affordable seniors’ housing in Coquitlam, given that the area’s seniors’ population is growing at about 5.5 per cent per year, while the number of independent seniors’ units has remained static.
Further, vacancy rates for independent seniors’ housing in the Tri-Cities has remained at three per cent or below over the last five years, and the number of seniors on the BC Housing Registry waitlist has gone up between six to 17 per cent per year in that timeframe.
Next Steps for Project
With the study concluded, the City will now proceed to refine the size and other building details, including its relationship with nearby Laval Square and the PMCC.
Work will also take place to finalize the design and uses of the adjacent plaza, in consultation with the neighbourhood and taking into account the needs of the community, PMCC users and seniors’ building residents. The preliminary designs for the space, developed before the seniors’ housing was considered, envisioned a multi-purpose plaza used for programs, basketball and events, with a strong connection to the adjacent gym. The uses will now be re-evaluated and other options considered, including more social space and outdoor fitness options.
Next steps for the project include:
- Launching a competitive process to find a not-for-profit housing partner to design, build, finance and operate the building;
- Subdividing and rezoning the existing PMCC site to enable the long-term ground lease; and
- Updating the design of the plaza and park adjacent to the PMCC and seniors’ building, then reporting back to Council before engaging the neighbourhood.
Information about the Place Maillardville project is available at www.coquitlam.ca/placemaillardville.
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Manager, Community Planning
City of Coquitlam