A new affordable housing complex for seniors is set to be built on city-owned land in Coquitlam to replace a former building nearby that also offered elderly care.
Monday, city council unanimously voted to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) in the new year, calling on housing providers to submit bids for a purpose-built facility on Sydney Avenue, south of Austin Avenue.
If approved, four properties in the “Southern Sydney Assembly” — that is, 594-602 Sydney Ave. — will be rezoned for the new units, for independent and/or assisted living for seniors.
The new development will replace the old Burquitlam Lions Care Centre (BLCC) that closed four years ago; it is also located on city-owned land, directly west of the assembly.
Before its funding was cut by Fraser Health, BLCC — a three-story facility operated by the Burquitlam Care Society and sponsored by the Burquitlam Lions Club — provided 76 beds and around the clock care to seniors (it was replaced with Nicola Lodge in Port Coquitlam).
Now that the property has returned to the city, as part of a restrictive covenant, 560 Sydney Ave. is slated for a high-rise under the Burquitlam-Lougheed Neighbourhood Plan and the city-wide official community plan.
Michelle Hunt, Coquitlam’s general manager of finance, lands and police, told council-in-committee the RFP aims to find a public or private housing partner to build and manage the new seniors housing facility, through a longterm lease.
Committee chair Coun. Dennis Marsden said affordable seniors housing in Coquitlam is “critically needed” as retirees don’t want to be priced out of their communities.
And he said putting the old Lions site on the market for higher density will be a “benefit for our taxpayers.”
Coun. Chris Wilson said the new seniors project will add to the municipality’s goal of creating complete neighbourhoods, for all ages.
The housing development will also be close to the LJ Christmas Manor, a non-profit apartment building at 560 Austin Ave., for seniors ages 60 and up.