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Super big bathrooms in this new Coquitlam condo tower. Here's why

Beedie Living's newest condo tower in Coquitlam's Austin Heights has 12 affordable rental units, six of which are accessible.

A beautiful garden deck with a playground, view and a barbecue area are among popular amenities showing up in Coquitlam condo towers these days.

And Beedie Living's newest high-rise — a 25-storey building at 1045 Austin Ave., next to Safeway — is no exception.

The Heights offers a massive outdoor patio with terrific views, along with a lounge and kitchen area, available to all residents, which has just opened.

However, while the attractive amenity space and fitness room might generate "oohs" and "aahs," it's another space, located on the second floor of the 189-unit building, that is really something special.

It's a caretakers' staff room, which will provide a quiet area for workers who provide care for clients of VRS Communities, a non-profit housing provider, which will operate 12 units of affordable housing at The Heights.

Melissa DeGenova, VRS director of development partnerships, showed off the caretakers' room, which has a shower, a kitchenette, and room for a desk and a couch.

Giant bathrooms

"This is what allows our shared care model to operate," said DeGenova, who explained that caretakers work in eight hour shifts to address the needs of VRS clients who live in the building.

With a caretakers space, workers don't have to be in the same room with their client all the time.

Other ways clients of the new units in The Heights by Beedie Living can be more independent include convenient fixtures, such as low counter-tops and switches, which are available in the six accessible units.

One of the most impressive features, however, are the large bathrooms, with showers big enough for a person in a wheelchair and their caregiver.

The bathrooms in these accessible units appear to be bigger than some bedrooms.

And for those frustrated by tripping over the raised window sill to get onto a balcony, patio entry ways for these units are flat to make getting around easier.

"It's so liveable," said Selina Robinson, Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA and minister of post-secondary education and future skills.

Low rents

Robinson said she was impressed with the affordable units that were was made possible by a partnership between the Province of B.C., through BC Housing, the federal government through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the City of Coquitlam and Beedie Living.

Coquitlam residents will be prioritized, including some who have been displaced through new development, the Tri-City News was told, and monthly rents are below market and range from $375 for a studio to $2,470 for a two bedroom unit.

Residents of the affordable rental units are moving in this week, as are condo owners in the remaining units.

Next door, West, Beedie's second tower, is under construction with a 2025 completion.

It will have 194 condo units, commercial and office space.

Curtis Neeser, vice president of residential development for Beedie Living, said the partnership worked so well his company is looking at similar arrangements for its other residential developments.

"All in all, it's been a successful project," Neeser said.

Financial contributions for the 12 units of affordable housing included:

  • $1.7 million in financing through the Housing Hub
  • $1.2 million in federal support
  • Beedie Living provided the land to the VRS at no cost
  • The City of Coquitlam provided $456,000 through its affordable housing reserve and
  • VRS Communities contributed $324,000 in equity.