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New garden centre hopes to take root in Port Moody

A new garden centre hopes to open a pop-up shop on a vacant lot at the corner of Clarke and Kyle streets in downtown Port Moody.
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A rendering of a pop-up garden centre being proposed for a vacant lot in downtown Port Moody.

A garden centre could soon be sprouting in downtown Port Moody. At least temporarily.

CityState Consulting has applied for a temporary use permit that would allow Urban Roots Garden Market to open a pop-up garden centre on a large vacant lot at the corner of Clarke and Kyle streets.

CityState’s Gaetan Royer said the centre would operate for two years, while the property awaits redevelopment.

According to its website, Urban Roots is a new retail component of a longtime grower that’s been supplying Lower Mainland garden centres since 1981. Royer said the company is planning similar pop-up shops in other communities like Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam and Langley.

Port Moody hasn’t had a retail garden centre since the closures several years ago of Art Knapp Plantland on St. Johns Street and another seasonal venture at the corner of Ioco Road and the Barnet Highway. The former site is now a car dealership and the latter is a new condo project that’s part of Suter Brook Village. Another garden centre was also located on Spring Street for awhile.

According to a staff report, the new pop-up garden centre will be comprised of modular shade structures and a peaked tent on the eastern portion of the 1,928-square-metre lot, with parking for 21 vehicles on the western portion. Vehicles would enter and exit the parking area off Spring Street, while a pedestrian entrance would be located on Clarke. The retail and display areas would be protected by a temporary six-foot-high fence and the corner of Clarke and Kyle streets would showcase a public art floral sculpture.

Royer told the Tri-City News keeping vacant properties active can be critical to maintaining the vibrancy of neighbourhoods undergoing transition.

“When you hit an empty spot where there’s nothing to look at but a gravel parking lot, it drives you back to your car to move on,” he said, adding neighbouring businesses will benefit by shoppers visiting to get their garden supplies.

“Impromptu shopping happens when people feel good as they walk down a street.”

Royer, a former Port Moody city manager and mayoral candidate who recently relocated the offices of his firm from a heritage building right next to the proposed garden centre to the top floor of the historic Burrard Public House on St. Johns, said more businesses are looking at the potential of the city’s downtown, but they don’t want to locate in a vacuum of empty lots and storefronts.

Last year, a consortium of property owners in the nearby Moody Centre transit-oriented development area converted a couple of empty warehouse buildings into small art studios while they await word on their massive redevelopment plan for the neighbourhood.

The temporary use permit application is scheduled to be considered by Port Moody council at its meeting on Tuesday.