A community of condos, townhouses, shops and offices nestled amongst towering trees. A natural park laced with hiking and cycling trails. And all of it just a quick shuttle bus or bike ride away from SkyTrain.
That’s the picture being painted for a 150-acre tract of land that straddles Sunnyside Road in Anmore where it meets First Avenue — by the company that owns it.
Now Icona Properties wants to find out if residents of the small village north and west of Port Moody share its vision, or what their ideas might be for the site, that is largely wild and inaccessible save for a network of informal trails and a clearing of smaller trees that used to be a shooting range.
On July 30, the developer delivered a glossy 15-page brochure outlining its vision to Anmore homes. Most of those homes are single-family dwellings on one-acre plots. Developing the site known as Anmore South could change that.
Greg Moore, the president and CEO of Icona, said the time may be right to bring density, as well as commercial and employment components along with sewer and independent water services, to the rural enclave where homes still use septic systems and water is purchased from Port Moody.
That’s what the company heard from residents and civic leaders in the years preceding the purchase of the property in 2020 by Tony Cai who split it off from the much larger property known as the Ioco Lands that stretches into Port Moody and includes part of the historic Ioco townsite, Moore said.
Anmore Mayor John McEwen said he is open to the idea.
“We need to have diversity. We need to have families,” he told the Tri-City News earlier about the village’s plan to apply to Metro Vancouver for inclusion into the region’s urban containment boundary.
But a group of residents calling itself the Save Anmore Coalition begs to differ.
They say development of Anmore South opens the door to “environmental degradation, clear-cutting of trees, high-density development, overcapacity of transportation routes.” The influx of new residents would burden nearby parks and lakes, they say.
The group has rallied for support by waving signs along Sunnyside Road; it has also posted a petition online.
Moore, who was previously mayor of Port Coquitlam, said a series of public engagement meetings beginning later this month may help bridge the divide as the developer solicits ideas for the property.
“We want to be open,” he said. “It’s important that our minds aren’t made up.”
Moore said pressure to urbanize Anmore is inevitable as the region continues to swell with residents looking for places to live, especially in areas that connect them with spectacular environs. Achieving that in a manner that is respectful to those surroundings is key.
“If you can live in this environment, it enhances your quality of life,” he said, adding the company will take its lead from the community’s wishes then submit its proposal for developing Anmore South as part of the village’s review of its official community plan that is currently in its initial stages.
In anticipation, the village has already embarked upon an analysis of what potential development of Anmore South could mean based upon three possible development models:
- current zoning while retaining the village’s rural designation
- higher-density comprehensive zoning while retaining rural designation
- higher-density comprehensive zoning under an urban designation
The analysis is expected be completed for council consideration in the fall.
- with files from Diane Strandberg, Tri-City News