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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Evergreen Line moving forward

From this week's "Burnaby Now"
"The city is expecting the province to ask for access to land along North
Road, and the transfer of city land (coowned with Coquitlam) along
North Road as well."
Eek! Wait- am I right in the line of fire?
Apparently the city of Burnaby is hoping to have a future station at Cameron and wants to prepare for this.
"The current listed stations are Lougheed Town Centre, Burquitlam, the
Port Moody West Coast Express station, Ioco, the Coquitlam West Coast
Express station and a station at Coquitlam City Hall, with access to
Douglas College.The Evergreen Line project is moving ahead after
the Metro Vancouver mayors' council on regional transportation approved a
supplemental funding plan for TransLink's expansion projects in
October.The formula for covering TransLink's funding shortfall
for its expansion projects included a two cent gas tax increase, and a
property tax increase in 2013, or another long-term revenue source, such
as a regional carbon tax.TransLink's plan was designed to cover
the $400million budget shortfall for the Evergreen Line, as well as
other TransLink projects.The Evergreen Line project is expected to cost $1.4 billion, according to the provincial transportation ministry."
They are spending an awful lot to get me to get out of my car, me thinks.
I was at the Burquitlam Safeway early this morning, where one of the cashiers mentioned she'd seen the plans for the Safeway rebuild. Apparently Safeway is trying to get everyone enthused. I don't think it's working, at least not at 7am on a Saturday. In any case, the cashier noted that the Safeway had not been given a starting or completion date as of yet. I guess it is still in the distant future.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mayor's inaugaral remarks

Our esteemed mayor was re-welcomed back to City Hall this week and made mention of our little neighbourhood:
"Three years ago, this speech spoke of the relationships we needed to develop, the
dialogue we needed to have, and the commitments we needed to build in order to
see the Evergreen Line come to fruition. Well, that has been achieved. We now
finally have a funding model in place, and we have the Evergreen Line project team
working with our own staff here at City Hall on getting a shovel in the ground
within months, on this long-awaited project. This transit line has been planned for
more than 20 years, and it’s exciting to see the project finally move forward, with
completion scheduled for 2015 – just prior to this city’s 125th Birthday.
Decades from now I am certain that the approval of Evergreen’s funding will be
earmarked as a pivotal moment in the city’s history. There is no question that the
Evergreen Line will help in the transformation of large areas of Coquitlam into
sustainable and desirable residential and commercial hubs. It will attract
investment, and truly Coquitlam to the region."
and more specifically, Mr. Mayor said:
"Last week was the first Open House in the process of developing the Maillardville
Neighbourhood Plan...... We’ll be doing the same in Burquitlam, and in other corners of our city; this Council believes strongly in Public consultation, and in ensuring that we engage
residents in the important decisions we must make. We want neighbourhoods that are affordable, welcoming, and inclusive. We want neighbourhoods that support public transit, and public transit that supports neighbourhoods. And we want a community that supports the families, young people and seniors that live here. "
The Mayor had a few more things to say, about the growth of the area, working on an additional Evergreen Line station, our place in the world economy. I hope Coquitlam proves to be as progressive as it sounds.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Poverty in Burquitlam

Sadly, this is our neighbourhood, and our neighbours. And maybe this is why we should celebrate having the YWCA housing on Como Lake:
Over the last 30 years, Canada has seen great improvement in economic security for seniors. But since 2007, while poverty levels among seniors declined in Canada and remained stable in B.C., Metro Vancouver has bucked the trend, according to the United Way's Seniors Vulnerability Report.Seniors who are most at risk of falling below the before-tax low income cut-offs (LICOs) are females over 75 years old, unattached, aboriginal or visible minorities, recent immigrants and those without post-secondary education.The report identifies four "hot spots," large neighbourhood swaths that show a pattern of vulnerability: Vancouver's
downtown, Downtown Eastside and Mount Pleasant; South Burnaby/New Westminster, Richmond City Centre, and - especially for women - Maillardville and Burquitlam.
(emphasis mine) Of all municipalities, Langley City has the highest concentration of poor seniors."There is certainly a bracket of low-income seniors where we are," said Barb Stack of the Langley Seniors Recreation and Resource Centre.The organization
does not track its members' income, but through its outreach program and tax services, it can tell that some seniors face more financial difficulty than others, she said.One reason for Langley's high figures could be the number of subsidized seniors housing located in downtown Langley.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Burquitlam Station

Found this little tidbit on wikimapia - don't know about its accuracy

According to "jodi", who posted this in 2007, the red square is where the station will be and the buildings there have already been removed. Since 2007, some developer has put up a temporary structure for a residential unit.
This entry cites Snake Hill as being too steep for the LRT - and having witnessed more than my share of accidents on that hill since 1976, I can certainly attest to that. The website lists a Barnet station, but we now know that isn't in the cards. Still, interesting to see the aerial view of this and realize how it will impact the existing structures.

Development Permit Area Guidelines

Came across the Burquitlam Neighbourhood Plan (doc 689384.v1) in my noodling through things. I noticed that I'm encompassed in this plan, which was drawn up in September 2008. Guess I should have looked at all of this first.
The Objectives state:

a. To recognize the role of the Transit Village in accommodating compact, mixed-use transit-oriented developments near the Burquitlam transit station.
b. To recognize the Burquitlam Neighbourhood as a visible "gateway" to Coquitlam, and a major community activity centre.
c. To ensure a sound relationship between different land uses in the Development Permit Area, and the adjacent residential areas.
d. To ensure that all transportation modes is maintained in this area of relatively high density movement.
e. To encourage a good working and living environment that for residents and employees in the area.
f. To protect the potential for a future rapid transit alignment and station along Clarke Road.
Hey - what? we're a Gateway? They want to ensure that traffic moves through the soon to be high density area? I hope they read their own documents before the skytrain is finished. Traffic is already a mess here, I can hardly imagine how much worse it will get.

The Evergreen Line

"Fast, Frequent, Convenient" is what the banner says on the Evergreen Line website.
Well it isn't being built fast, that's for sure. Burquitlam has been hearing about rapid transit for almost 15 years. Originally, the line was to have been part of the Millennium Line, completed 2002. Lack of money or political impetus halted this, although there is apparently an incomplete platform on the westbound side of Lougheed Station, and I have noticed the spur track there, but didn't know what it was for.
Throughout the first decade of this century, when I was living at a different station, I constantly heard about how the Evergreen line was a priority. In reading the history, I can see how I got that impression, what I can't see is why it has taken so long to get to this stage.
The government website gives all the facts, heralding the boon this will be to the Coquitlam and Port Moody communities. "6 stations, 80 km/h, 3 minutes between trains at peak time". Of course it doesn't describe what I already know from previous experience will be a bit of a nightmare in the building stage. But I'm a bit of a masochist that way.
It was all these "facts" that got me reading the local newspapers in the first place, and going to the community association meeting, and thus I found out some other "facts".
Bosa Developments has plans for the Burquitlam Safeway lot - a two storey store, parking on the lower level, store above, and two giant towers over that. In the July 21, 2010 Coquitlam Now it was reported that city council had recently approved the zoning for that project.
Bloom, by Magnum Projects Ltd, has townhouses and low-rise apartments - about 79 of them. There is at least one more tower being touted as I go by Burquitlam Plaza - with a 100+ units.
The YWCA has almost completed its gender-specific project at 528 Como Lake Road. Apparently for women only (doesn't anyone else see the inequality here) who are parents without partners (is the Y saying single dad's don't exist? shouldn't exist? ) will be able to raise their children here in Burquitlam on one of the busiest roads in the area. Of course there will be little park for those children of single mom's to play because part of it will go for the bus loops. Single dad's, of course, weren't specifically targeted in anything I've seen so far.
And with all these residences going up, apparently meant for the masses of breeders, I have to ask: does this area have schools? I know the nearest rec centre is in Burnaby - is Burnaby city council amenable to providing the infrastructure to a Coquitlam project? Because I know the nearest pool sure isn't on the skytrain line and I'm willing to bet that single parents, male or female, often don't have a car, or are often short on gas - having been a single parent in a past life, I remember scraping money together to get my kids to swim lessons, also not on transit.
So what became evident during my research of my new home is that although the Evergreen Line is a long-time in the coming and will be a boon to the area in the long-run, in the short-run somehow there are a lot of questions that the powers that be have forgotten to address, or left to the last minute, or maybe are keeping to themselves in a "wait and see" attitude. Hopefully they won't wait too long.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Zoning Amendment

At the October 24, 2011 council meeting a final reading for the development of "The Easton", a 72 unit 4 storey building at 615 Smith Ave, was read. One of the car co-ops, car2go, attended and presented in conjunction with this reading. It appears the fourth and final reading occurred and the permit was issued. So look out Smith Avenue - more densification on the way.

Burquitlam Community Association

The Burquitlam Community Association meets the first Thursday of most months at Miller Park Community School, 7:00 pm in the downstairs music room. They do not have a website but you can email them at

More on Burquitlam

In researching this community, I came across a few stats, courtesy of our government.
A nice little map show Burquitlam to be quite a large area. It would be a healthy walk.
They have the 2005 election posted at bcstats, but I believe Harry Bloy won again in the recent election, as well.
The 2001 census shows Burquitlam had 1.4% of the Province's population: about 54,000 people. This is a 5.1% increase from the previous census. Burquitlam is 34.56 km2.

The largest demographic are the 20-45 somethings, more women than men and we are slightly above the provincial average with that. There is a large percentage of the area that have single ethnic origins and speak non-English languages at home. Interesting to note that a large number of the population have at least some college education. This translates into income: The average Burquitlam family income in 2000 was slightly above the provincial average.

The average price of a home was $220,000 in that census, but I can tell you we paid more than that. The prices in Burquitlam are below the provincial average.

The top occupation in this area is clerical. (editorial note: It definitely isn't barista because the nearest Starbucks right now is at Lougheed Station)

Burquitlam Station

I work at Brentwood Station and highly respect the writer of that blog.  The information I get from that source about the community in which I work is invaluable.  But I have recently moved to the proposed Burquitlam Station and there is little information about this area.  This is where we shop and eat and sleep and yet I know little about the upcoming changes.  So I am putting together my own information and hopefully I'll help someone else as well.

At a recent Burquitlam Community Association meeting it became evident that a lot of changes are in store for this area, the skytrain being one of the more major, but not the only project in the works.  However, there were other aspects of the community revealed to me and I hope to find out more over the coming months - from the Community Gardens to the re-birth of Burquitlam Town Centre.