In late 2021, I wrote to the Tri-City News to highlight the vivid results of a citywide survey revealing what kinds of growth and redevelopment most residents of Port Moody want to see and what worries them. (https://www.tricitynews.com/opinion/letter-will-port-moodys-city-officials-listen-to-residents-preference-for-moderate-growth-4466090)
The survey, which received unprecedented public response, surfaced many anxieties.
My letter posed a question that is even more timely today: “With so many residents wishing to slow down, the question becomes whether city officials will listen… or whether this is all just window-dressing on an [OCP update] process stage-managed by the province’s all-powerful building industry.”
The issue arises again because, last spring, the city's consultants conducted another major city-wide survey that returned striking findings, insights that the new mayor and others have seemed eager to shrug off and shelve.
Here’s what most residents told us they want:
First, residents want council to support only growth that is genuinely moderate, gradual and doesn’t threaten city livability.
They oppose adding lots of towers downtown if this would seriously worsen rush-hour congestion, overwhelm Rocky Point Park or max out civic facilities.
Second, residents have their own vision for PoMo’s downtown, which differs greatly from what developers have been pitching.
For example, respondents have rejected the 14-tower condo complex being proposed by a consortium of big developers to house 7,000 new residents next to Moody Centre Station and Rocky Point Park.
Only 26 per cent want that.
Among five possible scenarios for Moody Centre, residents overall ranked the developers’ plan as the worst fit to the city’s needs.
What most of those polled said they want instead is a low- or mid-rise business district focused on revitalizing the city’s sagging economy and business tax base with more well-paid local jobs.
As for the Flavelle mill site, 66 per cent of respondents flatly disagreed with the current OCP’s condo-oriented plan to pack yet another 7,000 residents into the mill footprint beside Rocky Point, as the landowner wants.
Out of four possible destinies for Flavelle sketched in the survey, respondents rated that vision dead last.
Most called for much lower density, fewer towers, more mixed-use spaces and/or a major westward expansion of the park.
The looming question now is whether Port Moody’s council will respect residents’ vision or attempt to cloud and subvert it when rewriting the community’s plan.
— Jeff Poste, Port Moody