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Letter: Port Moody council made a 'flippant' decision on the future of Westport Village

Writer states, last Tuesday (July 12), Port Moody council rejected a routine agenda item related to the Westport Village (Andres Wines) site to allow them to complete work already well underway with staff.
Andres Wines Project
A rendering for Westport Village in Port Moody.

The Editor:

Last Tuesday (July 12) Port Moody council rejected a routine agenda item related to the Westport Village (Andres Wines) site to allow them to complete work already well underway with staff.

A simple one-year extension to tie up loose ends on this pivotal Port Moody redevelopment project.

I hope to draw Port Moody residents’ attention to why this was yet another colossal error in judgment from members of our Port Moody council and the devastating impacts their decisions will, yet again, have on the future vibrancy and livability of our community.

This seemingly flippant decision put a nail in the coffin of the Andres Wines Project — a plan that many of us, myself included, spent hours informing; a community process that started in 2006.

Keep in mind, this project already received unanimous support from this council at their 2019 public hearing.

I’m angry about the short-sightedness demonstrated last Tuesday night, and I believe I’m not the only one.

For the mayor to regurgitate objections related to transit, which have been responded to during the multiple consultations, convinced me that certain councillors have not listened to the proponent, or the hundreds of residents who participated.

To answer that question: Westport Village will deliver a shuttle bus between the village and the Moody Centre Station, among other measures to manage traffic.

The Peller team has received a few breaks in the process, but all to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts, and only after long and objective consultation. Building a new, purpose-built community in Port Moody is no small feat, and the site’s process has reflected that.

For some context on the politics at play here:

The mayor has recused himself throughout the proceedings due to a self-acclaimed conflict from receiving funds.

It seems very odd that he would all of a sudden inject himself back into the process at this late stage. This reminded me of him going on and off leave during his sexual assault case.

Freedom of the City recipient Andrew Peller was described as a man who "had a vision and that vision became reality through his energy, enthusiasm and dedication to the well-being of his fellow man."

With the same integrity of his grandfather, John Peller continues to promote the city’s identity and generously contributes in a major way to our local economy. Not to mention, Peller has been a longtime supporter of our city’s events and organizations, big and small.

I’m in favour of proceeding with the Westport Village vision because it is a world-class legacy project, which will put Port Moody on the map way beyond what Newport ever did, and be a breathtaking gateway entering from the west.

But, really that opinion is for a later date when the project comes back to council for fourth reading.

Last Tuesday’s decision was a procedural one, which should have been met with the same clinical viewpoint.

And yet, we’ve now lost one of the most community-focused projects this town has seen this century. I’m really hoping that there will be a reconsideration.

- John Grasty, Port Moody