A development proposal that could more than triple the population of Anmore, and impact traffic on Port Moody’s north shore, goes before the village’s council on Tuesday, Dec. 5.
Port Moody-based Icona Properties is proposing to build a master-planned community of approximately 3,300 new homes, as well as commercial and mixed-use spaces, on 150 acres the company owns in the south part of the village, at 1st Avenue and Sunnyside Road.
Before the company can proceed, though, it will have to secure an amendment to Anmore’s official community plan (OCP) that designates the area for special study, requiring an extensive neighbourhood planning process, said Chris Boit, the village’s manager of development services, in a report.
"It's unlikely a development of such magnitude and complexity was envisioned" when the village’s OCP was adopted in 2014, Boit said.
Icona’s plan envisions a mix of low- and mid- rise condo, townhouse and rental buildings to be built in phases over a period of about 25 years, a 25,000 sq. ft. community centre, about 50,000 sq. ft. of commercial space as well as a 9.3 acre park and more than four kilometres of accessible greenways and trails.
In his report, Boit said the company has indicated 15 per cent of the residential units will be rentals, of which 20 per cent will be available at below-market rates. As well, icona has promised 15 homes will be designated for the area’s volunteer firefighters.
Boit said the proposal "appears to offer support in addressing some of the key housing challenges" facing Anmore by offering a diversity of housing types beyond the single-family homes that currently predominate in the village.
"This diversification is crucial," Boit said.
"By introducing a range of housing options, including townhomes and mid-rise apartments," the project will help Anmore address affordability challenges while also enhancing its vibrancy and economic diversity.
He added the possibility of local job opportunities will also reduce the reliance of Anmore residents have on commuting.
But, Boit cautioned, the advantages of such an ambitious project "could impact the semi-rural character of Anmore, which is a key aspect of its current identity."
He said finding the right balance between the higher-density housing and the village’s ambience and environmental values "will be crucial."
Icona said it’s sensitive to Anmore’s unique place in Metro Vancouver; almost half the site will be preserved as forested green space.
The company’s president and CEO, former Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore, added, "if you can live in this environment, it enhances your quality of life."
But some residents aren’t so sure.
Two years ago they formed the Save Anmore Coalition, saying the proposed development of Anmore South would be a "percussor to environmental degradations, clearcutting of trees, high-density development" and "over-capacity of our transportation routes." They said the influx of new residents would also place "insurmountable pressures on regional parks and lakes."
The group said the main route to and from the proposed development — Ioco Road — is already jammed with bumper-to-bumper traffic, especially in the summer months.
In 2020, Port Moody council put the brakes to any notion an extension of David Avenue to Anmore could be built through Bert Flinn Park to relieve traffic pressures on Ioco Road when it voted to remove an old gravel right-of-way that bisected the 311-acre green space and officially united its two halves.
It also moved to limit development opportunities at a large tract of property that encompasses the old Ioco townsite to its current zoning for 253 homes.
At the time, Anmore Mayor John McEwen decried the move, calling it a "disservice" that would result in “untenable traffic and goods transportation on Ioco Road.”
In his report, Boit said Anmore council has four options to consider for Icona’s application:
- give first reading to the requested amendment to the village’s official community plan and refer it to council’s committee of the whole for further detailed discussion
- trigger a comprehensive review of the village’s current official community plan
- develop a detailed neighbourhood plan for the Anmore south area with the help of "extensive" community engagement
- reject Icona’s application altogether