Better neighbourhoods in the future

City of Coquiltam/Photo

A new study will help planners to make decisions about land use and transportation in Metro Vancouver. As a result, city planners in Coquitlam will be better able to build  neighbourhoods that have services residents need, within walking distances of their homes.

The study will draw on data in the My Health My Community Survey and the BC Generations Study. Pulling together the data from those surveys will cost $360,000 and the cost is being funded through a grant as well as funds from the City of Vancouver contingent on matched funds from its partner municipalities.

“The study is important for the information it will contribute to all levels of government,” said Heather McNell, a regional planner at Metro Vancouver

Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart who is also the chairperson of the Metro Vancouver regional planning committee, said building communities in Coquitlam that have the types of services, such as a grocery shop, that residents need can present the challenge of finding a retailer to operate in an area.

“It’s really hard for us to mandate commercial activities in areas where planning doesn’t over ride the market. The market sometimes says ‘that’s not a viable place for a corner store.’ And we know if we have complete communities, one that is walkable to amenities like shopping, it will be better,” Stewart said.

“Walkability, how far residents have to walk for services such as a grocery store, doctor’s office and bus stop, and land use and transportation are essential to complete communities,” McNell said.

Stewart said building complete communities is more possible for large development projects.

“We certainly can do that when we do larger scale planning, do a transit-oriented development strategy where we put that critical mass of housing and therefore the market for retail, small-scale retail, all in one place, as we’re doing with Burquitlam Station,” Stewart said.

Burquitlam Station on the Evergreen Line is a major transit hub where new highrises and townhouses have been built. The City of Coquitlam has developed the Burquitlam Neighbourhood Plan.

Stewart added that for most of Coquitlam, “producing fine-grained services that would allow everyone to be within walking distance of their services, we’re not there yet. And I would like to see us get there.”








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