The proponent of a massive redevelopment project that will become the western gateway to Port Moody says his company is ready to move forward aggressively to ensure it gets built and makes “a proud statement.”
John Peller, the CEO of Andrew Peller Ltd., told the Tri-City News the company is “very busy” seeking out the right partners and funding to begin construction of the first phase of Westport Village after Port Moody council gave fourth reading to amendments of the city’s zoning and official community plan bylaws on Tuesday, as well as approving development permits.
Peller said the affirmation is a significant step forward in “a very, very long and arduous journey” to redevelop the five-acre industrial property at the corner of Clarke Street and Barnet Highway where the company operated a winery from 1961 until 2005.
But it almost didn’t happen.
A year ago to the day Peller and his team were at Port Moody council clinging to the hope that a legal opinion from the city’s lawyers would rescue their years of planning and public engagement after the company’s request for a year’s extension to make its submissions for fourth reading had been twice denied by council the previous two weeks.
It did, and Tuesday several members of the current council were effusive in their praise for Peller’s plans.
“It’s everything this community has wanted,” said Coun. Callan Morrison, one of four members who weren’t part of last year’s council.
“I really think this is a great opportunity for Port Moody,” added Coun. Amy Lubik, who’s in her second term.
To be constructed in two phases, Westport Village will include:
- three residential towers up to 31 stories with strata, rental and seniors housing
- a new arts centre and 350-seat theatre
- live-work studios for artists
- a public plaza
- retail, office and medical spaces
- a grocery store
- a possible hotel
As well, the developer plans to rehabilitate a portion of South Schoolhouse Creek that runs next to the property and transfer its ownership to the city, relocate a section of the Trans Canada Trail and construct a new trail and viewing platform along the creek.
But a plan to operate a shuttle bus connecting the new neighbourhood to the Moody Centre SkyTrain has proved too complex, said Port Moody senior planner Wesley Woo.
Instead, the developer will make a cash contribution of $1.12 million to the city to be put towards improving cycling and pedestrian routes connecting to the station.
Peller, who was in attendance again at Tuesday’s meeting, said despite last year’s hiccup, getting the go-ahead to develop Westport Village is an example of what can happen when “things are done in a respectful manner.
“All the lights are going from red to green.”