Large industrial properties become special study areas for redevelopment
Large swaths of industrial property in Port Moody will now be designated as special study areas (SSAs) in the official community plan, opening the door to discussions on the future development of the Suncor (formerly Petro Canada), Mill and Timber sawmill and Ioco lands.
The OCP change, approved at Tuesday's council meeting, is largely an administrative one to bring it in line with Metro Vancouver's Regional Growth Strategy (RGS), which had those properties classified as industrial.
"That means those lands would be locked in to Metro Vancouver's land use strategy for another 30 years," said Mayor Mike Clay. Should any of the property owners seek to redevelop their land, he added, Port Moody would need unanimous or near-unanimous approval of every Metro director to rezone it.
Designating the properties as SSAs will lower that threshold to a simple majority of Metro directors for a rezoning application. It doesn't include any zoning or density language, but it does require a local area or development plan be prepared as part of any redevelopment proposal.
But PoMo residents who turned out for a public hearing on the OCP change raised concerns about what the potential redevelopment of any of those lands will mean for the city, likely because of a brochure — containing the city's logo — that was distributed from an unknown source.
The brochure suggested future densities at Ioco of some 5,000 residential homes, something Clay said is simply not true.
Resident Trevor Williams expressed concern that the SSAs would be considered in isolation from the rest of the OCP update, noting it should be in conjunction with current discussions on Moody Centre redevelopment.
Two Ioco Road homeowners predicted significant transportation headaches should any large-scale development take place on the Ioco lands.
Former mayor Dave Driscoll lauded council for initiating the OCP change to ensure the city retains local control over land use decisions, and asked when there will be information on potential redevelopment ideas for the three areas.
Clay said with approval of the OCP changes, staff can include the properties in its ongoing discussions around the OCP update.