Slower Pace of Development
The majority of residents I have spoken with clearly state the pace of development the past 4 years has been too fast. I couldn't agree more. We need a slower pace of development and rezoning in Coquitlam.
The breakdown of the units our past City Councillors approved to be built is also very troubling. The overwhelming majority of units built in Coquitlam the past 4 years have been 1 and 2 bedroom condos and those condos start in the $500,000 range for 1 bedroom units with small floor plans. How do expensive 1 and 2 bedroom condos address housing affordability? The answer is they don't.
Instead of expensive 1 and 2 bedroom condos with small floor plans, we need a balanced development plan. This means a lot more 3 bedroom townhouses as well as dedicated rental units and BC affordable housing units built right into new developments projects. The most recent tower approved by Port Moody City Council did just that. We need to follow that model as well.
With a balanced model like this, we can provide new housing opportunities for young families as well as meet our crucial need for increased rental supply and increased BC affordable housing unit for Coquitlam residents that need it.
We also need to protect our existing single family neighbourhoods. If we change to a balanced development model to meet our housing needs we can stop trying to increase density in our single family home neighbourhoods. A few hundred more units in a area from 4 plexes, garden houses and laneway homes will in no way address our housing crisis. But it will change the nature of our single family home neighbourhoods forever.
Coquitlam is fortunate to have some of the nicest, quietest, and safest family neighbourhoods in the Lower Mainland. We should not change the nature of these neighbourhoods because of 1 crazy 5 year cycle in the real estate market. Single family home prices have already fallen by around 15% from their peak and we don't know what the future holds. It is a real mistake to change the nature of these neighbourhoods forever so quickly. Because once we do, there is no going back.
Integrity in Coquitlam Politics
It is great news that developers can no longer make donations to campaigns for Mayor or City Councillors. I think we need to take it a step further though and ensure there are no conflicts of interest or influence whatsoever. I pledge I will not accept any donations from individuals in the development community or their family or friends. That way I can truly be objective and only focus on the interests of Coquitlam residents when voting on any type of development or re-zoning. I encourage all other candidates for Mayor and Council to take this pledge as well.
Further, I have spoken with many residents who have told me the same story: They were not even aware their neighbourhood had some potential rezoning going on before it was too late and the meetings had passed and Mayor and Council had made their decision. I believe all re-zoning applications need to be direct mailed to all residents in the immediate and surrounding areas. This will ensure all residents are informed and have time to respond before any decision is made by Mayor and Council. Putting up a few signs and advertising in the local newspaper is not good enough.
Most importantly, we need to start putting our residents first. Instead of Translink, Metro Vancouver, and our own Mayor and City Council coming up with plans and imposing them on us, we need to ask our residents what they care about and what they want to see happen in their city and in their neighbourhoods. And then we need to actually listen. I believe we need to re-open the Official Community Plan for a full review and take a whole new round of public input and update the plan. We need to ensure that our OCP puts the positions of our current residents first.