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New market rental housing project breaks ground in Coquitlam

Coquitlam mayor Richard Stewart (third from left) joins city councillors and representatives from Redbrick Properties to mark the start of construction on a new market rental housing unit Saturday.
Coquitlam mayor Richard Stewart (third from left) joins city councillors and representatives from Redbrick Properties to mark the start of construction on a new market rental housing unit Saturday. Twitter

Developers and city officials in Coquitlam celebrated the start of construction of a long-awaited market rental housing project Saturday.

The development, dubbed Residences at The Heights, is being built in the Austin Heights neighbourhood on Charland Avenue near Blue Mountain Street, and will include 41 rental units.

The project is the first to be built under Coquitlam’s housing affordability strategy, which was passed in December 2015, and is the first market rental development to be built in the city in roughly 40 years.

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver housing starts on track for record year: home builders

“For a number of reasons economically, market rental housing wasn’t being built,” Mayor Richard Stewart said at the ground-breaking event.

“Being able to bring market rental back in and see some actual [development] is vitally important, as our current stock is all 40 or 50 or sometimes 60 years old, nearing the end of its life.”

LISTEN: Jill Bennett talks with David Hutniak, CEO of Landlord BC, about the importance of the new development.

Abdul Jiwan of Redbrick Properties, the project’s developer, said the long wait for new rental housing in Coquitlam has been broken thanks to fresh incentives from the city.

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“Decades ago there was a tax incentive for developers to produce rental housing,” he said, adding zoning bylaws had favoured condos in the meantime.

“More recently, some cities like Coquitlam, Vancouver, New Westminster, have offered flexibility from zoning bylaws to accommodate the unique needs of rental housing so developers can economically justify rental housing.”

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver landlords wield tenancy laws more often than their renters do: study

Construction is set to be completed by August 2019.

A report released in January by the city claimed roughly 2,475 new market rental units have either applied, or been approved since the housing strategy was adopted, with another 166 below-market units also on the way.

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