COQUITLAM, B.C., Jan. 12, 2022 – As work gets underway in support of the Austin Works Yard Renewal Project, it’s important to the City of Coquitlam to address some of the community concerns around this project.
The Austin Works Yard Renewal Project is essential to meet the current and long-term needs of the community. Many of the current facilities were built over 50 years ago and are at the end of their usable life, or are inadequate for the functions required to support a modern community.
While planning for this project, a number of factors needed to be balanced including environmental impact, service continuity during construction, capital cost and long-term support to the community. The current plan of expanding the existing Works Yard site, while replacing any trees removed, balances all of these goals.
The City has met with key stakeholders on the project including impacted area neighbours, environmental groups – including the Burke Mountain Naturalists and Protect Coquitlam’s Urban Forests – and we will continue to work with them and others throughout the project to address outstanding concerns.
Perceived Impacts to Mundy Park
There is a requirement for some trees to be removed within Mundy Park along or near the realigned trail route. However, tree removals will be limited to invasive species or trees that represent a safety hazards to park users and City staff.
The City is not expanding the Austin Works Yard into Mundy Park and the park boundary itself has not changed since it was first established through bylaw in 1971. Although there is no visual property identifier, the trees and trails currently adjacent to the yard footprint are, and have always been, within the Austin Works Yard lot boundary. This area has been held by the City for decades for future expansion to ensure critical operations performed here – from traffic operations, to fleet maintenance, to park operations – can continue to be accommodated as the City grows.
Coquitlam’s Mundy Park is a unique and important ecological and recreational asset that remains a protected area within the existing park boundary, managed under the Mundy Park Forest Management Plan. Since the adoption of the Forest Management Plan in 2015, the City has invested considerably into the preservation of the park – including habitat enhancement for species at risk, invasive plant removal, new trail development and wildfire risk abatement activities.
As part of the City’s effort to minimize impacts from the Austin Works Yard project, and maintain the health of the Mundy Park Forest, staff are undertaking the following initiatives:
- Working closely with a professional Forester/Arborist to design a realigned trail route that avoids mature trees and also conducting a windfirm assessment and treatment plan to ensure a long term stable forest edge after clearing.
- Only removing trees in Mundy Park near the trail route that pose a risk to park users or are considered invasive species and replacing those trees with native trees within Mundy Park.
- Replacing all trees removed as a result of the project. Trees will be planted both in Mundy Park to enhance the area adjacent to the project boundary and new trails, as well as in the neighbourhood to maintain overall tree canopy cover.
- Working closely with a Registered Professional Biologist to identify and avoid impacts to critical terrestrial and aquatic habitat.
- Ongoing surveys and maintenance of the new urban forest boundary edge to maintain and protect the health of the wider Mundy Park Forest.
About the Austin Works Yard
The Austin Works Yard, located at 500 Mariner Way, is the City’s primary public works operations centre and currently houses a number of critical municipal departments and services including, for example, Engineering and Public Works operations and maintenance (flood response, roads, snow removal, sewer and solid waste operations), parks operations and maintenance, traffic operations, fleet and equipment maintenance and the Coquitlam Animal Shelter.
The facility is near its operational capacity, and many of the structures, built as early as the late 1950s, have reached or are reaching the end of their usable life. The Works Yard is in a central location between Coquitlam neighbourhoods and adjacent to key roadways that provide easy access to other areas of the City. It is also one of the safest locations to stage emergency repairs and servicing in the event of flooding, earthquakes, or other major emergencies.
Renewal Project to Begin in Early 2022
The plans for the Austin Works Yard Renewal include the following primary improvements:
- Expanding the Austin Works Yard within the existing lot boundaries to accommodate a new Fleet Maintenance and Workshop building, improve vehicle circulation, and increase fleet parking and storage space, which is currently near capacity.
- Constructing a new Fleet Maintenance and Workshop Building designed with post-disaster elements to continue to serve the community in the event of a major disaster.
- Converting vacated workshop spaces within the Water and Sewer Utility Building into administrative space.
- Demolishing the existing Fleet Maintenance and Auxiliary Building to convert into fleet parking and storage; and
- Realigning the public trails that currently pass within the Austin Works Yard property to Mundy Park.
More information, including links to public reports to Council and a sign up for project email notifications, is available at www.coquitlam.ca/worksyard.
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General Manager, Parks, Recreation, Culture and Facilities