Like many of you, I've had the pleasure of growing up in Coquitlam, spending endless hours at the hockey rink refereeing you or your kids' games, coaching them or instructing in the BC Hockey Association Officiating program. I've played sports, gone to school and created life long memories in this great city.
And like many of the people that I've met in my time as a Branch Manager at Westminster Savings and Coast Capital Savings, I've asked the questions, "how will my kids be able to afford to live here?" "Where are the homes that we can raise a family in and still afford to have a life?"
The answers are incredibly complex but as a City Councillor, our job is to help create the environment in which our kids can stay in Coquitlam and raise their families. This means housing solutions but also job creation.
The solutions start with smart development, building a variety of homes in both our new and established areas of the city. Perhaps we open our eyes to smaller lots in Central Coquitlam, getting away from 10,000 square foot lots because it's too small to subdivide which results in the construction of 7000 square foot homes. Maybe we can create opportunities for 3-5,000 square foot lots with 2- 3,000 square foot homes, parking options to not clog our streets or we consider small multi family lots such as duplex, tri-plex or even townhomes. The designs could fit the character of the current neighbourhood AND provide housing options that our kids could actually afford without mortgaging their futures.
We need to realize that we are in a knowledge based global economy and that businesses that pay well are looking for clean, green office space. As Councillors, we need to build the culture at City Hall that will ensure we include space for good paying businesses in the design of the towers surrounding our new Evergreen Line stations.
We need to participate and encourage the builders to participate in the creation of rental options for the kids just starting out on their own with new careers and moving out for the first time or for the new immigrants that have chosen to make this beautiful city and country their new home. We must create the environment in which our community can thrive.
As I said, the answers are complex, but we must work to together with our residents and with all of the stakeholders to achieve a goal of housing and employment options that will give our kids the chance to stay in Coquitlam and raise their families.