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Aug 10, 2017 Return to Headlines

Op Ed - Planning the Vibrant Social and Commercial Heart of Burke Mountain

by Michelle Frilund |

A typical day for a future resident of Partington Creek Neighbourhood Centre (PCNC) may go something like this: Wake up to scenic hillside views, cycle to the nearby grocery store for breakfast fixings, walk the kids and dog to a festival in the public plaza, then stroll along tree-lined Princeton Avenue into a charming boutique before a final stop at a local bistro for dinner.   

This future hub for Burke Mountain took a step forward July 10 with changes to the Official Community Plan (OCP) and approvals of policies and guidelines for development of the 15.8-hectare (39-acre) site, located east of Burke Mountain Creek and south of the proposed extension of David Avenue.

The City of Coquitlam is the primary land owner and developer of the PCNC, expected to house up to 2,000 apartments and townhouses, up to 11,150 square metres (120,000 square feet) of commercial space, a major recreation complex with community centre, public plaza, “green spine” (park corridor), integrated multi-use trail network, and 14,000-square-metre (3.6-acre) park. 

How did we get here? The vision for the PCNC reflects more than 25 years of planning, dating back to the 1991 Northeast Coquitlam Area Plan that identified the need for a pedestrian-oriented neighbourhood centre for Northeast Coquitlam. 

This concept was reinforced in 2013 by the Partington Creek Neighbourhood Plan, which was a preliminary, high-level planning exercise for a mixed-use village, allowing future flexibility in determining the optimal size and location for the commercial core through more detailed analysis.

As such, focused planning on the PCNC began in 2014 with the development of the PCNC Master Plan. The City formed a team with expertise in architecture, landscaping, engineering and land economics to better shape the development, given the steep topography, needs of the community and future population growth. 

The first step in the Master Plan process was to find a walkable “main street,” which has been designed along the future alignment of Princeton Avenue.

The second step was to “right-size” the commercial core to ensure its long-term success as a vibrant, thriving area. This was determined to be 100,000 sq. ft., which is comparable in size to Port Moody’s Newport Village, and UniverCity on Burnaby Mountain. The City is committed to achieving a harmonious balance of commercial activities, and will be actively seeking a grocery store and other vital tenants – including a much-requested coffee shop. 

The third step was around place-making and integrating the commercial core with public uses and outdoor space, creating a natural, meaningful and beautifully animated village core that will make the PCNC a gathering place for residents and visitors alike. This includes the community centre, public plaza and park space.

It was through this extensive detailed analysis of the Master Plan that the neighbourhood centre was refined and adopted by Council as the framework necessary to guide future development applications.

What’s next for PCNC? The City will now take the necessary steps to implement the PCNC Master Plan, including planning the development phasing (watch for this in 2018), creating detailed designs for the public spaces, and defining a neighbourhood brand to encourage investment in the commercial spaces and residential parcels. We will continue to engage with key community stakeholders and the public to deliver on our common goal of creating places that people use, that inspire social interaction, and that promote community stewardship.

Good planning takes time, and development of the PCNC is still roughly five years away. But once completed, the PCNC will be the vibrant social and commercial heart of Burke Mountain – and play a key role in helping Coquitlam fulfill its obligation to the Regional Growth Strategy adopted by all Metro Vancouver cities.

You can get a feel for the vision for the PCNC by watching the video and reading the materials on the Partington Creek Neighbourhood Centre web page at

We also encourage anyone with an interest in Burke Mountain to sign up for email updates at and like us on Facebook for the latest news and facts about Coquitlam. 


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