Skip to content

'A different approach to density': Port Moody councillor rails against plan for three downtown towers

Vancouver-based developer Beedie Living is proposing to build three condo towers and a six-storey rental building in downtown Port Moody.

A Port Moody city councillor says a proposal by Vancouver-based developer Beedie Living represents a bad precedent for the direction of the city’s downtown.

Coun. Haven Lurbiecki said Beedie’s plan to build 972 homes in three residential towers of 32, 34 and 38 storeys on Spring Street, plus a six-storey rental building that would be transitional housing for women, will be a template for other builders coming to the city who will want to pack density into tall towers rather than considering other less imposing options.

“We need to take a different approach to density,” Lurbiecki said Tuesday, Feb. 20, during a meeting of council’s city initiatives and planning committee that was its first opportunity to provide feedback to the developer on its proposal.

Lurbiecki believes Port Moody residents are opposed to tall towers and any such development projects should be put on hold until the city is able to complete its new official community plan, a process still in its early stages.

Another proposal by Vancouver-based PCI Developments to build two 39-storey rental towers next to the Moody Centre SkyTrain station is also working its way toward council.

For the most part, councillors were bullish about Beedie’s plan that also includes commercial spaces and a public plaza.

Coun. Amy Lubik said she loves the inclusion of transitional housing.

“This is exactly what we’re hoping to see.”

Coun. Samantha Agtarap praised the outdoor plaza which Beedie said will function as kind of a public living room for the development and attract visitors from all over the city. She said it will bring life to an area of the city that is currently bereft of pedestrian traffic because of its light industrial nature.

Couns. Callan Morrison and Diana Dilworth also liked the plaza but added more amenities like a dog park and additional parking spaces for visitors that could service the project’s commercial tenants should be considered.

Mayor Meghan Lahti said she would like to see more consideration for adding daycare spaces.

“Even a smaller daycare would be very beneficial to this application,” she said.

But a staff report suggested a sizable daycare centre would be part of another upcoming development proposal in the same neighbourhood.

Application documents submitted by Beedie said the development will contribute more than $23 million in amenities to the city along with $3.6 million in cash. Residents and commercial tenants would contribute about $2.1 million in property taxes annually.

Curtis Neeser, Beedie Living’s vice president of development, told councillors the company plans to build the six-storey transitional housing structure as part of the project’s first phase and it is in conversation with BC Housing and the YWCA to manage the facility.

Jeff Moi, Port Moody’s general manager of engineering and operations, said the city is also looking into the possibility of a shared district energy system to heat and cool Beedie’s project as well as other proposed developments in the immediate neighbourhood.

“We need to do some due diligence on our end,” he said, adding the city has hired a consultant to take a closer look at the business case for shared energy systems.

For the project to proceed, Beedie will need to secure several amendments to Port Moody’s zoning and official community plan bylaws.