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January 18, 2018, 12:25 pm

Report Shows Coquitlam's Affordable Housing Affordability Strategy is Working

City of Coquitlam

COQUITLAM - Thousands of new rental units are being planned or built in Coquitlam as a result of the City’s focus on housing affordability in the last two years.

The City’s 2017 Housing Affordability Strategy (HAS) Progress Report, which was presented to Coquitlam Council on Jan. 15, reflects that developers are embracing new incentives to build rental housing. 

Since the HAS was adopted in December 2015 to broaden the variety of housing types, sizes, prices and tenures in the city, approximately 2,475 new market and 166 below-market (subsidized) rental units have applied or been approved for development, and another 400 to 500 below-market units are in preliminary discussions. In the decade prior, only 67 market and 78 below-market rental units were built in the city.

The HAS also brought Coquitlam favourable attention in June, when it received an honourable mention in the 2017 Planning Institute of British Columbia Awards.

Last month, the City achieved a milestone by completing the last of the top-10 priorities in the HAS two-year implementation plan – a series of Official Community Plan and Zoning bylaw amendments intended to provide clarification and further promote the development of purpose-built rental units.

Other measures to promote housing affordability over the last two years have included:

  • Selecting Habitat for Humanity as the successful proponent to build affordable housing on City property at 1358 Coast Meridian Rd. (the plan is for 40 to 50 affordable home ownership units for families);
  • Encouraging the development of new rental units with additional density and fee-waiving incentives;
  • Preserving existing rental and co-op housing with regulatory incentives;
  • Requiring rental and co-op sites that redevelop to help displaced tenants find new homes;
  • Seeking partnerships with senior governments, agencies and organizations to encourage market and non-market housing projects; 
  • Growing and leveraging the Affordable Housing Reserve Fund to promote the development of housing options, including issuing grants to housing projects and hiring two Affordable Housing Project Facilitators; 
  • Incorporating a range of housing sizes and types in the Burquitlam-Lougheed Neighbourhood Plan adopted last June; and
  • Actively participating in the Tri-Cities Homelessness and Housing Task Group.

Of the HAS’ 54 action items, 46 have been completed or added as new City procedures. Upcoming HAS work will include creating an implementation guide on the recent bylaw changes to assist with development application negotiations, and investigating the preperation of a maintenance standards bylaw to ensure rental buildings in Coquitlam are properly maintained.

The City is also considering other opportunities not listed in the HAS but related to housing affordability, including:

  • Hosting a Coquitlam-focused housing summit to promote the HAS to developers, housing providers and potential partners;
  • Providing non-profit housing providers with support and expertise to help them better take advantage of opportunities provided by the HAS;
  • Investigating property tax implications for non-profit housing units;
  • Creating new incentives specific to non-profit housing development; and
  • Developing housing guidelines to encourage more family-friendly units in the City Centre area. 

To learn more about the Housing Affordability Strategy and implementation, visit the Housing webpage.

Media contact:

Andrew Merrill 
Manager, Community Planning
City of Coquitlam


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