Revitalizing Our Downtown
Major upgrades are planned for Leigh Square, Veterans Park and surrounding streets and public areas as part of Port Coquitlam’s downtown revitalization efforts.
The City is working to bring new life and energy to its iconic downtown, a charming commercial zone and a vibrant hub for arts, culture and festivals.
The vision is for a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly, safe and welcoming commercial and residential zone, with strategic redevelopment of key properties and public spaces that will retain the area’s charm and heritage while supporting thriving businesses and attracting people to the downtown to live, shop, socialize and celebrate.
Current Work (2021-2022)
Civic Centre Redevelopment
On Mar. 9, 2021, City Council approved the conceptual design last night to transform the Civic Centre – including Veterans Park, Leigh Square and an extension of Donald Pathway – into an accessible, safe and inviting place. Public feedback on the concept can be provided until Mar. 24, 2021.
The Civic Centre redevelopment will include Veterans Park, Leigh Square, an extension of Donald Pathway, and other City-owned spaces and roads in the area bounded by McAllister Avenue, Shaughnessy Street and Wilson Avenue and Donald Street.
Based on the public feedback and public space best practices, the open-concept preliminary design intends to:
- Attract families and people of all ages to the downtown and give them a reason to stay, whether it be through improved event space, performances, public art or park space,
- Improve safety, visual sightlines and connectivity, and
- Create an atmosphere that is fun, lively and green, with lighting for night-time enjoyment.
Key Steps for Civic Centre Redevelopment:
- The open-concept preliminary design was adopted by Council on Mar. 9, 2021.
- Approval of the concept will launch a detailed planning process in 2021 that will set the stage for construction to begin in 2022 (see Project Timelines below).
- The public may comment on the preliminary concepts below from Mar. 10 to 24, 2021 to inform the detailed design.
- Opening up Veterans Park to the street, pathways and Leigh Square, and relocating the cenotaph and plaza to a more accessible and prominent location in the park to enable more significant Remembrance Day events,
- Expanding Leigh Square into an open-concept festival space for events and day-to-day social use with more than double the current space and capacity, with changes including relocating the bandshell to back onto City Hall, and adding a water feature, improved lighting and variety of ground-level and tiered seating,
- Opening up the Outlet’s west wall with sliding glass doors or storefronts to create a lively space between the building and City Hall, and redeveloping the space south of the Outlet for additional parking, event space and food truck staging,
- Expanding Donald Pathway north from Wilson Avenue to weave through the Civic Centre and downtown, and
- Reconstructing Donald Street and Leigh Square Place into one-way corridors, allowing for improved movement of pedestrians and cyclists and more green space.
Read the Mar. 9, 2021 Staff Report to Council on the Preliminary Concept.
McAllister Avenue Construction
The reconstruction of McAllister Avenue will kickstart the revitalization efforts.
Taking place from spring to late fall 2021, the improvements will create a distinctive streetscape design focused on walking, socializing, shopping and celebrating, including:
- One-way east-bound traffic to provide more space for those on foot,
- Engaging street-level building design with patios and storefronts that spill out onto the sidewalk,
- A level street surface with unique paving materials, underground wires and drainage,
- Trees, landscaping and furniture that can be removed during events, and
- Electrical hookups for entertainers and food trucks.
Construction Timelines (pending budget approvals)
- McAllister Avenue reconstruction: anticipated to take place from spring to late fall 2021
- Civic Centre redevelopment (pending budget approval):
- Detailed design: 2021
- Street-frontage works to open up Veterans Park: 2022
- Majority of Veterans Park redevelopment: anticipated for 2022
- Leigh Square redevelopment (including Leigh Square Place, Donald Street and the Outlet): anticipated for 2022
- Donald Pathway extension: As adjacent work is completed. Work in Veterans Park and near McAllister Avenue is planned for 2022.
The work will be phased to allow for public space to continue to be open to the public while other spaces are redeveloped.
Quarry Rock Development
This private housing and commercial project on McAllister Avenue will complement the City’s work on McAllister Avenue. Construction is anticipated to begin in late spring 2021 on a five-storey building at 2241-2251 McAllister Ave., the site of a City-owned parking lot and former commercial building. Included in the project is 63 apartment units, street-level commercial space, underground parking and a 2,500-square-foot plaza alongside the planned Donald Pathway extension.
Costs and Financing
The estimated costs for the project are approximately $5.8 million. Following the detailed design work in 2021, estimates will be refined and a funding plan will be brought forward to Council for approval.
Funding for the design and construction of the Donald Pathway extension is included in the Capital Works budget for completion in 2021.
The City is committed to working with the contractors and community to mitigate impact on the community throughout the construction stage. Work will be phased to allow for continuous access to public space. As the Civic Centre plans are refined during 2021 and more details are finalized, further details will be provided.
Background and Planning
Downtown Action Plan
In fall 2017, the City of Port Coquitlam completed a year-long planning exercise designed to identify opportunities to further develop the area’s potential while retaining its small-town scale and charm.
Consultant Cushing Terrell was hired to conduct research, review best practices and consult with stakeholders and an advisory group comprised of representatives of property and business owners, the Port Coquitlam Business Improvement Association, developers, non-profit associations, downtown residents and community members.
- Attracting developers and businesses,
- Purchasing and selling lands to facilitate future developments,
- Creating opportunities for development that will be acted upon by owners, developers and desired businesses, and
- Offering incentives to promote growth.
The project, intended to build on Downtown Plan ’98 (see below), was part of the City’s current update to the Official Community Plan.
Recommendations and Concept Plan
The consultant’s report, Recommendations for a Downtown Action Plan, identified a number of actions that may be considered to achieve improvements in the downtown. The report was received by Council in September 2017 for information and planning purposes.
- Staff Report to Finance and Intergovernmental Committee – Downtown Actions (PDF)
- Recommendations for a Downtown Action Plan (PDF)
In the fall of 2019, the City endorsed the Downtown Concept Plan, a high level conceptual framework for development of key sites in the downtown. It included goals for the downtown to be connected, convenient, desirable, livable and walkable, with redevelopment of selected under-utilized properties to make way for tree-lined streets and paths, apartment-style housing and a mix of existing and new shops, businesses and restaurants.
McAllister Avenue Development
Quarry Rock Development has submitted a Development Permit application to redevelop 2241-2251 McAllister Ave, the site of a parking lot and former commercial building, with a five-storey building featuring almost 20,000 square feet of street-level commercial space, an open public plaza, 63 apartments with one to three bedrooms, and underground parking.
In April 2020, the City approved an updated streetscape design for McAllister Avenue that includes a wide pedestrian and boulevard area and maintains a large portion of on-street parking. Construction is taking place in 2021. Read more:
Additional Planning and Consultation
In addition to the planning work related to the Downtown Action Plan, other planning for the downtown has included:
- 2003 Leigh Square development study – concept of an outdoor community “living room,” strong visual connections, a greenway and other enhancements in the Civic Centre.
- 2016 Cultural Plan (Imagine Port Coquitlam) – saw Leigh Square as a place for special events, experiencing art, visiting with family and friends, and connecting to civic services.
- 2020-2021 Preliminary design concept – based on the above plans.
- 2021 – Detailed design of the Civic Centre redevelopment.
Public consultation has included:
- The various planning initiatives referenced above included a significant public consultation component, including public surveys, workshops, a Downtown Action Plan Advisory Group. The City has also undertaken direct engagement of stakeholders including area property owners, residents, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 133, arts groups and Port Coquitlam Business Improvement Society, and will continue to do so throughout the process. The public and stakeholder input to date was instrumental in shaping the vision for the downtown that is guiding the City’s revitalization initiatives.
- The City collects public feedback each year through an annual budget survey to assess the community’s current priorities. The 2021 survey included an open-ended question about what improvements the public wants for downtown public spaces to provide more opportunities to gather and celebrate. The most common theme was to see more community celebrations and events, while a significant number wanted improved traffic flow and multi-use travel opportunities. This feedback is reflected in the planned outcomes for the revitalization work.
- The City has kept the public informed of its progress on revitalizing the downtown through information in the media, the City website and publications, social media and other means.
- Public feedback opportunity from Mar. 10 to 24, 2021 on the Civic Centre concept below.
- Additional feedback opportunities will be provided as the planning progresses.
Downtown Plan '98
During the late 1990s, Downtown Plan ’98 was developed through a public process to provide a guiding framework for the revitalization of the downtown area. The municipal staff worked with community residents and businesses to determine a vision of what the core area could ultimately look like in the future.
Downtown Plan ’98 illustrates this vision through various components such as policies and land use designations and is reflected in the Official Community Plan as a Development Permit Area for the downtown area.
“Downtown Port Coquitlam will become the dynamic centre of a small, vibrant, livable city. At its core will be lively “High Street” retail district – with one-of-a-kind shops, restaurants, specialty food stores and personal services. It will also be characterized by attractive residential areas, with a variety of housing catering to many needs; a network of pedestrian and bicycle pathways; a wide array of public parks and amenities; and an impressive civic precinct.
Location and Mailing Address
City Hall Annex (above Bank of Montreal)
#200 2564 Shaughnessy Street
Port Coquitlam, BC V3C 3G4
Business Hours: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays)