After years of planning and consultation, Coquitlam City Council unanimously approved this week a new City Centre Area Plan (CCAP) that aims to provide the municipality with its own vibrant, high-density downtown.
The designated city centre area spans 1,789 acres, but the core is located around the three easternmost stations of SkyTrain’s Millennium Line, and within the proposed 60-acre redevelopment of Coquitlam Centre shopping mall. The plan replaces the previous 2008 plan, envisioned before the Evergreen Extension.
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As outlined by the new plan, over the next 25 years, new redevelopments will send the city centre population’s to 55,000 — an increase of 25,000 residents compared to 2016. There will also be new offices, retail, restaurants, an entertainment district, post-secondary institutions, plazas, parks, public art, and other supporting amenities.
“As someone who grew up in Coquitlam, it feels amazing to be part of the City Centre Area Plan process. This has been, and will continue to be, a very comprehensive process that will solidify Coquitlam as a hub north of the Fraser. Almost every element, from diverse housing and business options to environmental sustainability and accessibility strategies have been considered and integrated,” Steve Kim, a Coquitlam city councillor, told Daily Hive Urbanized on Tuesday.
“I’m very excited to see this next phase of our City’s growth. We may truly realize a Coquitlam where residents may work, learn and play close to home, saving commute time and expenses that can best be spent with family and friends.”
Three unique precincts next to SkyTrain stations
There will be unique precincts around each of the three SkyTrain stations in the city centre; precincts around Coquitlam Town Centre Station and Lincoln Station will see concentrations of office space, while the precinct around Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station will see improved civic purposes.
The Pinetree-Lougheed Precinct at Coquitlam Central Station will be a “striking gateway” into the city centre, with an office business district, and potentially a hotel and conference centre as an anchor. High-density residential development is also a major component of this precinct.
Barrier-free pedestrian bridges will be constructed across Barnet Highway to seamlessly connect the precinct with the shopping mall property to the north, and across Lougheed Highway to link to the Christmas Way area.
But the largest, central core of the downtown is the Lincoln Station Precinct, which will be a focal point of activity with large plazas and squares designed for events. It will be a vibrant, mixed-use destination with significant office development, pedestrian-oriented retail, and entertainment options, as well as high-density residential.
The entertainment district will be located around Lincoln Station, with restaurants, public houses, nightclubs, theatres, and other entertainment venues. Potentially, it could also have a public library to replace the existing city centre library, as well as a new theatre, rehearsal and performance space, and multipurpose meeting spaces. Residential developments will be required to have superior acoustic insulation to mitigate any undesirable noise impacts from the entertainment district.
Further up north, the Four Corners Precinct around Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station is mostly on city-owned lands. Future development is envisioned to enhance the area’s civic and cultural hub uses.
The existing temporary park-and-ride lot will be relocated to a new location within 400 metres of the SkyTrain station, and significant public open spaces will be established to serve as a gateway into Town Centre Park from the SkyTrain station.
New streets, linear park, and amenities
Over time, a total of 18 acres of land will be acquired for new public parks within city centre to meet the changing needs from population growth. This includes a new linear park near the Pinetree-Lougheed Precinct with an average width of 10 metres.
An “Urban Boulevard” along Lougheed Highway between Johnson Street to Westwood Street will be a key east-west arterial corridor, complete with wide paths for pedestrians and cyclists, lighting, landscaping, and new development fronting the street with active frontages.
Additionally, the “Downtown Promenade” will be a new pedestrian-oriented high street extending southwards through the shopping mall site. Wide sidewalks will be activated by an entertainment district, office business district, and civic uses.
A new elementary school has been identified as a requirement to meet enrolment demand, and there is a new opportunity to renovate or replace the city centre aquatic centre complex.
New additional SkyTrain station and Port Coquitlam extension
At the southwest corner of the city centre area, the plan calls for retaining and reserving additional rights-of-way through development to protect the potential future construction of a new additional SkyTrain station at Falcon Drive — next to the satellite SkyTrain operations and maintenance yard.
And in the southeast corner, the city also intends to retain and reserve rights-of-way in the Christmas Way area to ensure allowances exist for a potential future eastward SkyTrain extension from Coquitlam Central Station towards Port Coquitlam.
Multi-modal transportation improvements are highlighted for the three SkyTrain stations. New mobility hubs next to the stations will “seamlessly facilitate transfers between multiple transportation modes to improve first-to-last kilometre connectivity.”
These mobility hubs could have features such as pick-up and drop-off areas for transit buses, taxi, and ride-hailing services, as well as secure bike parking, bike repair and maintenance equipment, bike and scooter share services, car share services, and electric-battery vehicle charging stations.
Reduced parking minimum requirements will be considered for new developments near SkyTrain stations.