The City of Port Coquitlam is attempting to make the municipality more livable for seniors and people with disabilities.
At a meeting on July 9, council passed a report that will make it mandatory for residential buildings with 10 or more units to allocate 30 per cent as adaptable housing.
Adaptable housing takes into account the structural elements most commonly needed by residents who wish to continue living in their homes, despite changing needs such as age and unexpected disabilities. It also makes it less costly for them to modify their homes in the future.
The units, which will be designed to meet the needs of residents who may have impaired mobility due to age, disability or injury, will include lever-style door handles and sink faucets, raised electrical outlets and lowered light switches.
Kitchens will have a continuous surface between the stovetop and sink, while the bathroom walls will be reinforced to accommodate the future installation of grab bars, if necessary.
"Anyone applying for a development permit will be required to provide 30 per cent adaptable housing," said Coun. Dean Washington. "It's for someone like myself in my mid-40s, for example. Instead of having to move because of my health, the unit would be easily adapted to provide user access for certain areas."
He noted some people currently looking for places to live in PoCo may need a bit of time to adjust to the small changes around the units.
"The concept is really for people with any sort of needs that require you not to have to bend down, or easy access to your washroom. There will be something different, but it'll be so small that you can't put your finger on it," he said.
Coun. Mike Forrest was the only one to vote against the motion.
The recommendations come in response to new Adaptable Housing Standards set by the provincial government in 2009.
Zoning and other bylaws need to be amended and go through three readings before the measures are officially passed.