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March 23, 2012 / jenstden

Growing pains of a new suburban neighbourhood

When I was a kid, we often drove from our kooky West Kootenay town to visit relatives who lived in the suburbs of Calgary and Edmonton.The god-awfulness of those housing developments – the sameness of the houses, the stunted trees, the nowhere-interesting-to-walk-to streets – has forever tainted my idea of the suburbs. The horror!!So it’s refreshing to learn about a new housing development that has been planned to include a mix of different housing types, and a more urban feel, with an emphasis on walking, cycling and public transit. Coquitlam’s Burke Mountain has long had a scattering of houses amongst the forest, but in 2006 the area began to be intensively developed.

The plan for Burke Mountain calls for a mix of single family houses, townhouses and apartment buildings. The aim is to include a variety of prices, from $250,000 townhouses to large, $800,000 houses.

With several different companies building housing, development is proceeding sporadically and more gradually than if this were a master-planned community being built by a single developer.

This has caused some growing pains. There is still no bus service at all on the mountain, and the residents are eagerly awaiting things like schools, which won’t be built until there are enough people living there.

You can read my full story here.

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