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Photos: Onni plans to raze Coquitlam College for seven towers

Onni plans to build its master-planned community half a block from North Road in Burquitlam, across the street from the City of Lougheed in Burnaby.

A developer plans to tear down Coquitlam College in Burquitlam and build seven towers in its place.

But the Onni Group doesn’t have plans at this time to include childcare for the expected 2,500 residents.

Still, the lack of childcare spaces for the approximate 133 kids who will live on site was one of the few criticisms that Coquitlam politicians had for the proposed development at 516, 520, 524, 528, 532, 538, 548, 558, 562 and 566 Brookmere Ave. — located half a block from North Road, west of the Vancouver Golf Club and north of Brookmere Park.

In fact, unlike other master planned communities that have recently come before the city’s committee for preliminary feedback, elected officials were generally OK with Onni’s bid.

Rob Vrooman, the company’s vice president of development, said Onni has been working with city planners since it officially submitted its application last October for seven high-rises ranging from 28 to 50 storeys tall, on a 7.2-acre site that’s currently home to the former post-secondary institution as well as some single-family houses.

Broken down, Onni plans:

  • 1,813 residential strata condos
  • 595 market rental suites
  • 92 below-market or non-market rental units

Vrooman said Onni is now in talks with SHARE Family and Community Services to operate the latter, and is seeking additional partnerships and subsidies.

As for the owners of the three single-family home properties at 554, 570 and 574 Brookmere Ave. who don’t want to be part of the land assembly, Vrooman said the company is also in negotiation. Mayor Richard Stewart warned properties that become orphans also become less valuable; Vrooman said the massing and tower positions will be the same if Onni can’t acquire those lots in Phase 3.

Vrooman also said the company hasn’t changed its master plan since the provincial government came down with new housing legislation last November, aimed to ease the housing crisis.

As a result, Onni won’t be following Victoria’s guideline to have no parking for new developments close to transit.

“Parking has an effect on sales,” Vrooman said.

Still, while the committee praised Onni for proposing a walkable community, daylighting Austin Creek (currently a culverted stream), protecting existing riparian areas and including commercial spots and public art, Coun. Matt Djonlic voiced concern about the pressures on Brookmere Park at 565 Austin Ave., which was recently updated.

Onni will now host a public engagement meeting before returning to the City of Coquitlam with its revisions.