May 29 2012
Residents oppose Windsor Gate towers


Coquitlam city council heard from a number of Windsor Gate residents about Polygon's decision to turn three low-rise buildings into skyscrapers

Residents of a new housing development in Coquitlam came out by the dozens this week to stop plans for more towers in their area.

On Monday, city council hosted a public meeting on the proposed amendment for Polygon's 2007 Windsor Gate Development Agreement that, if approved, would see a 37-storeys tower in place of a four-storey building and two eight-storey complexes rise to 24 levels each.

Many homeowners of Windsor Gate — located off Pipeline Road, on a former mobile home park called Windsor Glen — said the new tower heights would be "dramatic" for the community.

And opponents cited the extra density, traffic congestion, lack of parking and shadows the highrises would create as concerns.

Of the 13 people who spoke at the 2.5-hour meeting, 10 were against the plans, including Michael Picard, who handed in a 160-signature petition on behalf of some Windsor Gate residents to ask council to deny the bid.

Picard said many homeowners were unaware of what Polygon was planning.

"This will change the character and feel of the neighbourhood," he said. "I think we need to slow down and have proper consultation."

Hugh Ker, Polygon's vice president of development, was unavailable for comment Tuesday but, during Monday's meeting, he said the changes to Windsor Gate — which is already zoned for high density — will result in 125 more units, up to 6,000 sq. ft. of additional amenity space and a large park in the "heart" of the development, linking with Glen Park across Pipeline Road.

As well, if the project is approved, Polygon would contribute $1 million to the city for its planned Evergreen Line station at Lincoln Avenue and Pinetree Way, and $500,000 for Phase 2 of the Glen Park redevelopment.

Ker also said Polygon had held three open houses with Windsor Gate residents — all of which were advertised a week in advance with flyers on mailroom notice boards or placed along mail slots.

But opponents criticized the city for not indicating the proposed height of the three towers in its letter — sent out two weeks ago to neighbours — or in its newspaper ads about the public meeting.

Many homeowners said they felt blindsided while others praised Polygon for densifying the neighbourhood and expanding the city's tax base.

"With the Evergreen Line coming, I think the Polygon development will be the number one development in Coquitlam," said Ian Russell, who used to live in the Windsor Glen mobile home park.

City council is expected to make its decision at its regular meeting on June 11. Council has also instructed city staff to work with Polygon for more public consultation on its plans.


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