City Centre Area Plan Update

The City of Coquitlam is updating the existing 2008 City Centre Area Plan (CCAP) to look at creating higher densities, mixed use and pedestrian-friendly development along the Evergreen Line stations in City Centre.

The report presented to Council-in-Committee on September 14, 2020, entitled "Updated Draft CCAP", presents a series of refinements to the draft CCAP based on consultation feedback, including clarifying the vision for City Centre, enhancements to images and graphics, and new and refined policy directions.

Next Steps

With the feedback and direction received from Committee on the updated draft CCAP, staff will make refinements and bring the draft Plan forward as an OCP amendment bylaw for Council’s consideration and referral to Public Hearing in the fall of 2020.

About the draft Plan for City Centre

The draft Plan charts a renewed course for the future of City Centre and will influence the way the community grows by guiding decisions on land use, environment, transportation and urban design to strengthen City Centre as the downtown and ‘heart’ of Coquitlam and the northeast region.

Key directions proposed in the draft CCAP include:

  1. Creating a Vibrant Downtown Core
  2. Establishing a Strong Employment Base
  3. Building a Family-Friendly Downtown
  4. Enhanced Recreation and Cultural Services
  5. Integrating and Connecting the Downtown

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the draft Plan. Check back for updates on next steps and the final Plan.

The City of Coquitlam is updating the existing 2008 City Centre Area Plan (CCAP) to look at creating higher densities, mixed use and pedestrian-friendly development along the Evergreen Line stations in City Centre.

The report presented to Council-in-Committee on September 14, 2020, entitled "Updated Draft CCAP", presents a series of refinements to the draft CCAP based on consultation feedback, including clarifying the vision for City Centre, enhancements to images and graphics, and new and refined policy directions.

Next Steps

With the feedback and direction received from Committee on the updated draft CCAP, staff will make refinements and bring the draft Plan forward as an OCP amendment bylaw for Council’s consideration and referral to Public Hearing in the fall of 2020.

About the draft Plan for City Centre

The draft Plan charts a renewed course for the future of City Centre and will influence the way the community grows by guiding decisions on land use, environment, transportation and urban design to strengthen City Centre as the downtown and ‘heart’ of Coquitlam and the northeast region.

Key directions proposed in the draft CCAP include:

  1. Creating a Vibrant Downtown Core
  2. Establishing a Strong Employment Base
  3. Building a Family-Friendly Downtown
  4. Enhanced Recreation and Cultural Services
  5. Integrating and Connecting the Downtown

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the draft Plan. Check back for updates on next steps and the final Plan.

  • Foresight and Careful Planning Bring Opportunity in Coquitlam (Western Investor, Jan. 7, 2020)

    07 Jan 2020

    City of Coquitlam
    January 7, 2020

    View the article on Western Investor - See online version for screen shots and images.

    Savvy investors are setting their sights on Coquitlam, British Columbia, where well-crafted masterplans are driving the City’s transformation to an exciting regional urban hub

    Both redevelopment and new growth in this central Metro Vancouver city are providing a wealth of residential and commercial development prospects. The City itself is leading the way, with progressive plans and processes based on the principles of smart growth. Here is a look at three promising areas.

    The region’s downtown

    Coquitlam City Centre has served as the region’s de facto downtown for decades, but the arrival of SkyTrain in 2016 sparked a reboot of the City Centre Area Plan.

    The draft plan to be adopted in early 2020 charts a course for strategic enhancements and redevelopment as City Centre’s population almost doubles to 58,000 by 2046. Some of the principles:

    • To create a vibrant and active environment day and night: Concentrate population and job growth around the SkyTrain stations in a commercial core featuring restaurants and pubs, shops, offices, residential high-rises, and hotel and conference space.

    • To stoke job growth: Increase commercial floor space in the core and continue opportunities on the periphery for enterprises that need more space.

    • To welcome residents at all stages in life: Public amenities, a new elementary school and range of housing options within walking distance of jobs, transit and parks.

    • To build community: A network of parks, open spaces and new civic amenities.

    • To enhance transportation: Pedestrian-friendly streets, pathways and greenways.

    “The evolution of Coquitlam’s City Centre will take a major step forward with the adoption of the new plan,” said Andrew Merrill, Coquitlam’s Manager of Community Planning. “It has already generated a lot of interest and I expect to see heightened activity in the near future.”

    Learn more at www.coquitlam.ca/CCAP

    The Burke Mountain lifestyle

    A short distance from City Centre is another gem: Burke Mountain, a growing hillside community in northeast Coquitlam and one of the region’s largest greenfield developments. The City, as a major landowner, is influencing its design through thoughtful, comprehensive master planning that includes offering pre-zoned, fully serviced development sites.

    About 13,000 residents already call Burke Mountain home, drawn by its panoramic views, access to nature for hiking and mountain biking, and proximity to schools, parks, and transit.

    The future 39-acre Burke Mountain Village will anchor this fast-growing lifestyle-driven community and be a unique regional destination. When complete, it will offer a variety of housing options, street-front retail, a large public plaza, neighbourhood park and state-of-the-art recreation centre.

    “Burke Mountain offers the type of lifestyle many people want today, whether they are raising a family, a young professional or an empty-nester,” said Curtis Scott, Coquitlam’s Manager of Land Development. “The City is invested in our long-term vision for the area.”

    Learn more at www.coquitlam.ca/burkemtn

    Burquitlam renewal

    Construction will begin in early 2020 on a new YMCA recreation facility, community amenities and housing in Burquitlam that will help deliver the vision laid out in the 2017 neighbourhood plan update: walkable, complete and transit-oriented, with a mix of housing types and access to shopping and amenities.

    The joint project of the City, YMCA of Greater Vancouver and Concert Properties will redevelop the Burquitlam Park site, located next to the developing commercial zone at Clarke and Como Lake that includes the Burquitlam SkyTrain station.

    Learn more at www.coquitlam.ca/ymca

    For more information about investing in Coquitlam, contact the Economic Development Office at 604-927-3442


  • Take a (virtual) walk through Coquitlam's City Centre (Tri-City News, Nov. 12, 2019)

    14 Nov 2019

    Gary McKenna / Tri-City News
    November 12, 2019 06:48 AM

    View the article on the Tri-City News - See online version for screen shots and images.

    It is a beautiful fall afternoon and the streets around Lincoln SkyTrain Station are bustling with activity.
    People are strolling between shops and restaurants while leaves blow in the breeze and a busker plays guitar for a group of people gathered in a plaza.

    “Hey, this guy sounds amazing," one person says.

    There's just one problem: None of this exists yet.

    The scene is virtual reality (VR), technology the city of Coquitlam is adopting as it rolls out its City Centre Area Plan to give residents an immersive walk-through of the future neighbourhood.

    "This is easier than looking at a whole series of plans and trying to understand what these drawings mean in real life," said Andrew Merrill, Coquitlam's manager of community planning.

    He added that most architectural renderings presented to council are fly-throughs, giving the observer a bird's eye view of what is being proposed.

    "This is at the human level," Merrill said. "It is very much how you experience the city. You are not a bird flying 40 storeys in the air looking down on things."

    The VR scene looks like a video game.

    As the viewer hangs a left from Lincoln onto The High Street, day turns to night, giving a sense of what the proposed entertainment district with its bars and restaurants might one day look like. The scene finishes at the end of the street, which today is a portion of Coquitlam Centre mall.

    Michelle Hunt, the city's general manager of finance and technology, said staff intend to add to the virtual map as they move along with the planning process for the rest of the City Centre neighbourhood.

    "Once you have the base, you can start dropping new ones in as they come," she said, noting the city already has some VR renderings of the intersection of Pinetree and Guildford ways outside city hall. "We have that and now we have Lincoln, so I could see just extending it."

    Coquitlam is one of the only cities in Canada using virtual reality to engage residents. And at a cost of $28,000 to develop the VR map and run the program at consultation events, Hunt said it is good value for the city.

    She even sees a bigger future for the technology.

    While the practicalities still need to be worked out, it is possible that VR could be used for not just larger community planning initiatives but for individual development applications. Could council meetings one day consist of residents and councillors strapping on VR helmets as they discuss the latest highrise proposal or multi-family project?

    "That's the next piece we need to start wrapping our head around," Hunt said.

    Jeeven Bhambra, a digital engagement specialist with IBI Group, the consultant contracted to do the virtual reality work, said building Coquitlam's City Centre map has been one of the most interesting projects the company has taken on to date. He believes that more cities will turn to VR to engage residents, allowing planners to reach out to a range of people who may not be accustomed to taking part in a planning process.

    "It breaks all kinds of barriers associated with language, where you're from, your history, your background," he said. "We made it in a way that is accessible to everyone. Even a two-year-old could put on a headset and use it and enjoy the experience."

  • Bars, restaurants and a school included in new Coquitlam City Centre Plan (Business in Vancouver, Nov. 7, 2019)

    14 Nov 2019

    Latest draft document shows how Coquitlam's central shopping hub will transform into a regional downtown over the next 25 years.

    By Gary McKenna, Tri-City News | November 7, 2019, 4:50pm

    View the article on Business in Vancouver - See online version for screen shots and images.

    Coquitlam's City Centre neighbourhood is expected to transition from a suburban shopping hub to a regional downtown, according to a new draft plan for the area.

    Today, it is acres of parking lots nestled around an intersection where two highways meet.

    But over the next 25 years, Coquitlam's City Centre is expected to transition from a suburban shopping hub to an urban downtown, serving residents beyond the municipal borders and acting as a focal point for Metro Vancouver's northeast sector.

    According to a draft area plan, which was presented to Coquitlam council last week, the growth will dramatically change the city's skyline while increasing employment opportunities and service offerings for the neighbourhood.

    "As cities evolve, much like any evolution, it doesn't occur in a straight line," said Andrew Merrill, Coquitlam's manager of community planning. "Occasionally, there are big steps up and, right now, our City Centre is on the cusp of taking one of those big steps forward."

    A conference centre and hotel are included in the City Centre Area Plan, which also calls for an entertainment district with restaurants, bars and theatres.

    The draft plan covers a 1,789-acre area and is built around a handful of what city staff are calling "big moves."

    First, an entertainment district with bars, restaurants and theatres is proposed along an extended version of The High Street that will continue south over what is now the Coquitlam Centre mall parking lot. The city would also like to see a hotel near Lougheed Highway and Pinetree Way.

    The district is expected to anchor the downtown core, where the city intends to double the current minimum commercial density to provide a strong employment base, one of the central planks in the draft plan. Office districts are slated for the areas next to the Lincoln and Coquitlam Central SkyTrain stations while most of the new streets will have mandatory commercial frontages.

    Maps show a network of new parks and public spaces peppered throughout the area along with civic amenities, including an elementary school on Lougheed Highway between Pinetree Way and Johnson Street. A range of housing options have also been outlined to meet the goal of creating a "family-friendly downtown," according to a staff report.

    "To meet the varying needs of households of all types and at all stages of life, a variety of housing choices, tenures and price levels will be provided across City Centre," said the report. "This will be achieved by respecting established neighbourhoods and directing new high-density residential development to the commercial downtown core."

    The street grid in the City Centre neighbourhood is expected to expand significantly, extending many of the roads that currently hit a dead-end at Coquitlam Centre mall.

    The plan also outlines dramatic changes to the City Centre's road network.

    Gone are the large swaths of concrete parking lots, replaced with new streets and the extension of existing roads, including Pacific Street and Anson Avenue, which currently hit a dead end at the mall. The finer street grid is necessary to make the neighbourhood more walkable and pedestrian-friendly, according to the report.

    With the completion of the draft plan, staff will now take the document out to the public for consultation. Information sessions, public surveys, pop-up kiosks — and even a virtual reality tour (see story next week) — are being used to engage with people, according to a staff report.

    After residents have had an opportunity to provide feedback, staff said the draft plan will be back before council in early 2020 for bylaw readings and a referral to a public hearing.

  • City of Coquitlam Reveals Plan for a New Downtown with an Entertainment District (Daily Hive, Nov. 13, 2019)

    14 Nov 2019

    Kenneth Chan
    Nov 13 2019, 8:35 pm

    View the article on the Daily Hive - See online version for screen shots and images.

    The City of Coquitlam is showing a new level of regional economic ambition with the details of its full draft city centre plan now released for public consultation.

    This is effectively an update of the 2008 City Centre Area Plan, reflecting the new high-density, transit-oriented development opportunities made possible by the 2016 completion of SkyTrain Millennium Line’s Evergreen Extension, which provides the designated downtown area — an area of 1,789 acres — with three stations.

    As with any district master planning process, the work identifies new land use, building forms, community amenities, public spaces, transportation improvements, and a mix of family-friendly housing. But this goes much further than the typical community plan, with a significant emphasis on office space, as well as retail, restaurants, and hotel uses forming an entertainment district.

    Much of the core of this commercial downtown area is on the 60-acre Coquitlam Centre shopping mall, which is envisioned for a complete redevelopment by its owners.

    Three unique precincts next to SkyTrain stations

    Three unique precincts next to each of the three SkyTrain stations have been identified; precincts around Coquitlam Town Centre Station and Lincoln Station will see concentrations of office space, while the precinct around Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station will serve a greater civic purpose.

    The Pinetree-Lougheed Precinct, next to Coquitlam Town Centre Station, serving as the gateway into the commercial downtown core, will centre around the activation of the intersection of Pinetree Way, Lougheed Highway, and Barnet Highway with commercial frontages and public plazas. Along with office uses, it is targeted as a suitable area for hotel and conference centre space.

    Further up the Millennium Line, the Lincoln Station Precinct is planned as the heart of the commercial downtown core, supported by plazas, ample office use, and a wide variety of commercial uses that go beyond just streetfront retail. This is also the bulk of the entertainment district — complete with restaurants, public houses, nightclubs, theatres, and other entertainment venues.

    Most of the footprint of Lincoln Station Precinct, currently largely used as ground-level parking for Coquitlam Centre, will be the first phase of the mall’s eventual redevelopment.

    “Two Office Business Districts are envisioned for City Centre, which have been strategically situated around a transportation nexus,” reads the plan.

    “These Districts will contain a dense concentration of office space, including office towers, situated within high-density mixed-use developments. This mix of land uses is intended to help animate the Commercial Downtown Core throughout the day and into the evening.”

    At the terminus of the Millennium Line around Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station, Four Corners Precinct is a civic hub, given that it is the location of Town Centre Park and various civic buildings including city hall, the aquatic centre, and the Evergreen Cultural Centre.

    This area will be further improved to turn it into an even more vibrant, people-focused magnet of activity for events, festivals, markets, and other cultural and public uses.

    “This mixing of uses coupled with the establishment of several ‘Districts’ strategically situated in the Core will ensure a vibrant and active downtown day and night,” states the plan.

    “The clustering of specific land uses into Districts within the downtown will establish a land use pattern in which related activities, whether entertainment, office, cultural or recreation are located close together to create a ‘critical mass’. Grouping these types of activities will help to establish destinations within the Core and foster economic development.”

    High-density residential uses for families of all types and sizes is also deemed as crucial to support the cluster of businesses in the commercial downtown core and create vibrancy.

    “Residential development in City Centre is a key component in creating a successful and sustainable downtown. Residential growth will help stimulate a diverse economy by supporting commercial businesses with foot traffic at all times of the day,” continues the plan.

    “Density and height will transition lower with increased distance from the Core and area specific height limits have been established to provide an appropriate transition towards established lower density neighbourhoods.”

    New streets, amenities, and institutions

    A new public street grid will extend across the existing mall property, including the creation of the downtown promenade — a pedestrian-oriented, north-south high street with wide sidewalks that support the entertainment district, office business districts, and civic amenities.

    Mandatory retail and restaurant street frontage will be required for the buildings that line much of the new grid in the core.

    As well, greenways with pedestrian and cycling paths linking parks and other destinations will continue to be developed throughout the area.

    In order to “bring an influx of young people, new ideas, and energy to Coquitlam,” the plan calls for a concentration of new and expanded post-secondary education institutions in the city centre.

    The need for a new additional elementary school has been identified to accommodate the area’s population growth. This is expected to be an urban type of school building that requires less land area and features an efficient building design and layout.

    Over time, additional land will be acquired for new public park space and other community amenities.

    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 existing city centre 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 ridehailing 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.

    The municipal government’s online survey seeking public feedback on the draft city centre plan will be open until December 2, 2019. City staff will consider the submitted input for further refinements to the plan, before sending it to city council for final approval.