Port Moody’s mayor wants the fencing that surrounds the old fire hall site removed and the property cleaned up.
In a report to be considered by council at its meeting Tuesday, Rob Vagramov said the lot, at the corner of Ioco Road and Murray Street, has become “at best unsightly and could be put to better use for community value.”
He wrote that the property can be used for community activities and events until its future is determined.
He wants staff to investigate possible short-term uses for the property, including outdoor council meetings, a weekend petting zoo, a community garden, or events and activities in partnership with local businesses or environmental groups.
He said such initiatives could “inspire a sense of pride and ownership of this site, leading to increased awareness and input into future discussions regarding its long-term future.”
Those discussions could take “months, potentially years,” he added.
The fire hall site has been vacant since 2014, when a new facility was opened right next door.
In a non-binding community opinion question that was part of last October’s municipal elections, Port Moody voters rejected by 53% to 47% the idea of selling or leasing the property, as well as the nearby public works yard, to a private developer as a way to fund new amenities such a larger library, seniors housing or more park space.
Vagramov said the results of last October's vote are a “clear” indication that residents want to “keep the site publicly-owned and to find innovative ways to maximize its potential.”
A similar motion to program the fire hall site that was put forward by Vagramov in May 2018, was rejected by the previous council after it had decided that April to defer rezoning the property and instead poll residents about its future fate. Some councillors expressed reservations about such a plan, citing concerns about safety and liability given its location at the corner of one of the city’s busiest intersections.
“Parents would never bring their kids to a park at that location because of safety,” Coun. Diana Dilworth said at the time.