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Another rental building is being proposed for Port Moody — but a staff report suggests there's problems

The eight-storey building would be constructed on a site with possible soil stability issues
A rendering of how an eight-storey rental building being proposed for Shoreline Circle in Port Moody might present itself at street level.

Port Moody could be getting another rental building.

But a pre-application by Vancouver-based Grimwood Architecture to build 68 market rental units in an eight-storey project overlooking the Burrard Inlet faces several hurdles, according to a staff report.

Wesley Woo, Port Moody’s senior planner, said while the addition of 25 one-bedroom units, 33 with two bedrooms and 10 three-bedroom apartments to the city’s rental stock is laudable, the project’s location on Shoreline Circle isn’t convenient to transit.

Woo said residents in rental units rely more on transit, but the nearest bus is a 15-minute walk down a steep hill to the Barnet  Highway where the #160  that runs between the West Coast Express station in Port Coquitlam and the Kootenay bus loop in East Vancouver stops.

As well, the steep hillside where the project would be built presents “significant” geotechnical issues.

In his report, Woo said a study of soil conditions on an adjacent lot in 2018 to enable construction of a single-family home indicated the soil could give way. In fact, he added, those soil stability issues have prevented a previous plan, dating back to 1992, to build three duplexes on the subject site from proceeding.

“It is likely that the subject property will have similar conditions to those noted for the adjacent property,” Woo said, adding the applicant would be required to provide an updated geotechnical report conducted by a qualified professional with specific geotechnical expertise. The report could also be subject to a third-party peer review at the applicant’s expense.

Even if the soil is found to be stable enough to accommodate the development that would be stepped down the hillside, Woo said its height and density would be out of character with the immediate neighbourhood that is mostly single-family homes and staff recommends it be scaled back.

Council will get its first look at the proposal on Tuesday (Dec. 6).