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Bring back civility, Port Moody residents say
Does Port Moody need stronger policies to guide redevelopment in older neighbourhoods where mega-houses can dwarf small bungalows and destroy views?
The answer to that question is Yes, says a group of longtime PoMo residents, who are asking the city to establish a "good neighbour bylaw" to guide future development while protecting the assets of older properties.
"What's important is we feel our values are slipping away," says Tara McIntosh, a Jacobs Road resident for 14 years.
McIntosh and her neighbours know one another well, they support each other's kids, help one another out in emergencies and meet for barbecues and volunteer for sports groups and other causes. But they fear that kind of small-town co-operation is disappearing with Port Moody's rapid growth, which is seeing older homes along Ioco Road knocked down for larger structures that take up an entire lot and block the views and decks of their neighbours.
Similar concerns have been raised in other areas of the Tri-Cities where older homes are replaced by newer, much larger ones.
What's missing from these developments, say McIntosh and neighbours Josephine Kovacs and Michelle McKill, is consideration for others.
"We want to retain the qualities of the neighbourhood the way it was when we moved in," said Kovacs, a 13-year resident.
What spurred their concern was the construction of a large home that blocked the inlet view of a long-standing neighbour. McIntosh said he eventually got rid of his balcony because it faced the newer home's laundry vent, which blew hot steam into his sitting area; as well, the new construction affected his property value as well as his peace of mind.
"What we want is thoughtful development and the change of current bylaws in our community that protects homeowners and their investment but also builds houses that blend in better with the existing neighbourhood," said McIntosh, who said similar bylaws exist in other cities.
The bylaw could, for example, protect views of primary living spaces, include design standards and allow new construction in older neighbourhoods after a thorough discussion with property owners, developers and neighbours.
A Facebook page was established (The Good Neighbour By-Law Port Moody, B.C.) after an initial meeting of over a dozen residents living in the area, and the group plans to present its case at PoMo council on Tuesday, setting the stage for a campaign leading up to the civic election in November.
"We just want to get the conversation started," said McIntosh, who argues that the issue is not a problem of "affluent" people trying to protect their space but the promotion of an attitude of co-operation and neighbourliness.