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Andrés Wines site proposal proceeds but not without concerns

Almost two years have passed since Port Moody council last saw a vision for the future of the Andrés Wine site.
Westport Village
A rendering of what the Westport Village development, on the site of the old Andrés Wine plant, could look like.

Almost two years have passed since Port Moody council last saw a vision for the future of the Andrés Wine site.

Tuesday, councillors got another look and said they liked what they’re seeing enough to direct staff to begin preparing amendments to bylaws and the city’s official community plan that will pave the way to turn the project into reality.

Still, several said significant hurdles remain for plans for the 1.5-hectare site, which would be known as Westport Village, at the western entrance to the city.

Port Moody’s manager of policy planning, Mary De Paoli, said the property’s owner, Andrew Peller Ltd., has completed several technical studies to support its proposal to erect 10 buildings that will transform the former industrial site into a mixed-use neighbourhood with 418 residential units — strata condos, rental apartments, independent- and assisted-living units for seniors — as well as artists’ studios. The project also proposes light industrial spaces, retail and commercial units, including a food store, office spaces, a boutique hotel, medical clinic, athletic club, arts centre, daycare and an arts village with galleries, plus live/work spaces.

The buildings would include a 31-storey tower, one 21-storey tower and one 12-storey tower, as well as a six-storey mixed-use building, one three-storey structure and five with two to three storeys. They would be grouped around a central park area and bisected by a diagonal promenade connecting Clarke Street with a restored riparian area flanking Schoolhouse Creek.

While De Paoli said city staff have concerns about the development’s ambitious diversity, Coun. Hunter Madsen said, “There is an awful lot to like.”

Coun. Zoe Royer said the project, which was first presented to the community at an information meeting in February 2017 and was last before council in June of that year, represents a “wish list” of everything the city could want, from rental housing to seniors’ homes to space for artists and employment.

“I feel like our community has shaped this project,” she said. “I think this will help us live up to our moniker, The City of the Arts.”

And while Coun. Steve Milani praised the proposal as a worthy western gateway to Port Moody, several of his colleagues echoed staff’s concerns about its location.

In response to a staff report that said the project would generate a total of more than 1,000 vehicle trips during morning and afternoon peak hours, Coun. Diana Dilworth said such a large development is too far from transit, and proposed plans for an improved bikeway connection to Moody Centre, as well as a private shuttle service to the SkyTrain station, 1.3 km away, might not be enough to relieve traffic.

In her report, De Paoli noted a nearby transit station that was anticipated in Port Moody’s official community plan is no longer in TransLink’s plans. She said there would also have to be several improvements to the neighbouring road network, including the addition of turning lanes on some roads, reconfiguration of lanes on others, and the installation of traffic signals at Douglas and St. Johns streets.

Acting Mayor Meghan Lahti said she’s worried about the site's heavy industrial neighbours, including Reichhold Chemicals and Pacific Coast Terminals as well as freight and SkyTrain rail lines.

“I can’t get past we’re putting up to 1,000 people adjacent to heavy industry,” she said. “The amount of complaints we’re going to get.”

Still, Lahti and other councillors agreed there’s enough to like about the project to allow it to proceed so residents can eventually have a chance to chime in.