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PORT MOODY OCP: Differing opinions aired at meeting

Port Moody
Port Moody's Official Community Plan, currently in draft form, doesn't give developers carte blanche to do what they want, says Mike Clay, the city's mayor.
— image credit: FILE PHOTO

Port Moody councillors are not out to “recklessly” destroy the city with a community plan that gives developers carte blanche to do what they want, the city’s mayor told attendees at a town hall meeting Wednesday evening.

Mike Clay said the OCP, with a focus on Moody Centre, where the new Evergreen Line will have the greatest impact, is a vision to guide development, not a prescription for builders.

“An OCP doesn’t entitle anybody to do anything,” Clay said.

Speaking after several opponents to the plan raised issues such as the future of city property around Kyle Centre, the lack of specifics on how many units a developer can build on a site, and protection for heritage buildings, Clay said the plan that has taken a year to develop is a compromise that people can live with.

“This isn’t a group of reckless people out here who want to wreck the city,” Clay said.

But his comments didn’t square with some residents, many of whom have been vocal at other OCP town hall meetings. Many of those residents are still not happy with what they see in the plan.

Hazel Mason, president of the Moody Centre Community Association, said she has concerns about the level of density and “massive growth” in the plan, and doesn’t believe the majority of PoMo residents support it.

Elaine Golds, a resident and director with Burke Mountain Naturalists, said the lack of specifics on site coverage or number of units per acre leaves the door open to developers. She asked for “some assurance about what we are going to end up with.”

WALKABLE CITY

But other residents said the plan provided density that will encourage the development of a walkable city, and a population that support shops and small businesses.

Jillian Hull of the West Port Moody Property Owners Group said with proper planning and environmental policies, the city can create a community in which people can afford to live and grow old.

Other speakers, such as John Grasty, said the OCP balances the need for density along the Evergreen Line route with the desire for amenities and green space because density be traded for desirable benefits such as parks and community facilities.

The split in opinions from residents also appeared to mirror division on council.

Councillors Rick Glumac and Zoe Royer said they supported more specific details on site coverage and Glumac said he would have liked to have seen 30% of the new Oceanfront District, identified as a special study area, saved to expand Rocky Point Park.

“My primary concern right now with the OCP — I’m not against density  — it’s just how much density,” Glumac said.

NOT LEGALY ENFORCEABLE

But Clay said specific site coverage details in the plan wouldn’t be “legally enforceable” and such regs should be laid out in the zoning bylaw.

The mayor also took issue with complaints that “rampant growth” will be the outcome of the plan, noting that over the 30 year life of the vision growth of 1.35% to 1.4% is predicted.

Coun. Diana Dilworth said the OCP represents a 30-year vision but, over the short term, will at least guide development along the Evergreen Line route, which is a pressing concern.

“We really want to address what SkyTrain impacts will be beforehand,” Dilworth said.

Coun. Rosemary Small, meanwhile, said she takes issue with people who said council is in the pockets of developers, and reiterated that the public will continue to have a say in development as the plan rolls out in future years.

The OCP, which identifies in broad strokes what development will look like in the future —  including how many storeys buildings should be around Inlet Centre and Moody Centre stations as well as a potential SkyTrain station in west Port Moody — is slated to go to the city’s land use committee for approval on April. 1, then to city council.

The plan has undergone several changes since it was introduced last spring. Wednesday's meeting was the fourth town hall meeting on the topic, but there will be more chances for people to give their input during a formal public hearing as part of the process.

dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

 

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