The timing of the tree removal portion of the project is critical to avoid tree removals during the bird nesting window.
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The Austin Works Yard Renewal project is a critical city initiative to address significant operation constraints that impact the City’s ability to meet current and future servicing needs. The Austin Works Yard Renewal Project includes: a new Fleet Maintenance and Workshop building; expansion of the western portion of the existing Works Yard and associated bulk storage to the north and west; conversion of vacated workshop spaces in the Water Sewer Utility Building to administrative space; and abatement and demolition of the existing Fleet Maintenance and Auxiliary Building to convert into fleet parking and storage.
The works expansion project remains entirely within the confines of the works yard property and will not overlap into Mundy Park. However, the work will include the rerouting of the Mundy Park Community Path and the Austin Trail, which currently passes through the existing Works Yard boundary. The Mundy Park boundaries have not changed to accommodate this project and the Mundy Park Urban Forest Reserve will remain a protected area.
The lands currently within the works yard lot boundary have been held specifically for expansion of the existing yard to accommodate increases in service demands as the City grows. These areas would be difficult to delineate for the typical park user since there are no visual identifiers showing where the park boundary ends and portions of the Mundy Park trails cross over into the works yard boundary.
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 realigned trail route has been specifically designed to avoid impacting large, mature native trees
The bulk of the tree removals will be occurring within the existing Works Yard boundary.
The City has committed to replace, at a minimum, every tree removed in relation to the expansion project, including those removed to accommodate the new trails. Any trees removed as part of the project will be replaced by trees planted in Mundy Park and the surrounding neighbourhoods, with the goal of enhancing the area adjacent to the project boundary, new trails, and maintaining overall tree canopy coverage in the same neighbourhood.
The City is committed to reducing and/or mitigating potential impacts resulting from any tree removals within the Austin Works Yard lot boundary and the creation of a new forest edge adjacent to Mundy Park. To meet this goal, the City has worked closely with a team of professional foresters and certified arborists to minimize tree removal requirements and to achieve a long-term stable forest edge to the adjacent Mundy Park.
The City has also worked closely with a team of professional biologists to assess the impacts of the expansion project on wildlife, critical habitat and watercourses, and to seek mitigation recommendations for those impacts.
Austin Works Yard is located 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 emergencies.
The Northeast and Lafarge Lake satellite works yards have been established to support neighbourhood specific requirements within the City. However, the large scale relocation of central services to another area to accommodate the expansion would require the duplication of service infrastructure and facilities at a significant cost and an overall long-term loss in operational efficiency.
Public Hearings are a type of meeting mandated under the Local Government Act for specific property uses including: changes to Official Community Plan bylaws, Zoning bylaws, certain bylaws authorizing temporary use permits, phased development agreement bylaws, bylaws for the early termination of land use contracts or bylaws for heritage revitalization agreements.
Because this project is happening on the existing Austin Works Yard lot, and requires no change to the zoning or land use, it does not require a Public Hearing.
Due to the largely technical nature of this project, there is limited ability for the public to provide input on the design of the new Works Yard itself.
The City is committed to working with nearby area residents and staff have had a number of one-on-one conversations with neighbours.
Regarding the concerns around environmental impacts, the City is working closely with several area environmental groups for additional input in addition to the expertise of Foresters / Arborists and biologist teams working on the project.