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Port Moody councillors tells developer there’s still room for improvement of Coronation Park project

Developer says the project will bring $91.1 million worth of benefits to the city
Redevelopment plans for Port Moody's Coronation Park neighbourhood include a 2.5-acre park amidst six residential towers up to 31 stories, a six-storey rental building and a four-storey office building.

Construction of a new master-planned community for 5,000 new residents in Port Moody’s Coronation Park neighbourhood is expected to begin in late 2025 and take 10 years.

That is, if developer Wesgroup Properties Inc. secures all the required rezoning and development permits in a timely manner, said the company’s director of development Kaylen Blomkamp.

Tuesday, Port Moody councillors indicated there’s still tough negotiations ahead as they got their first formal look at Wesgroup’s rezoning application for the 14.8-acre site at the corner of Ioco Road and Barnet Highway.

At a meeting of council’s new initiatives and planning committee, several councillors said the developer’s plan, which also includes a four-storey office building and commercial space for a grocery and drug store, is still lacking in several key areas — primarily in the number of daycare space and an adequate affordable housing component.

Currently, Wesgroup’s plan for the site includes 101 rental units that will be available on a rent-to-own basis, with 10 per cent of them set aside for seniors.

As well, the company is proposing to build two daycares to accommodate up to 194 children.

That’s not enough said Coun. Haven Lurbiecki.

“There is zero affordable housing currently included as part of this luxury development,” she said, adding the developer should be compelled to at least attain the city’s requirement for 15 per cent of units to be affordable.

But Wesgroup’s senior vice president of development, Brad Jones, said a financial analysis commissioned by the company shows that goal is unrealistic given the high cost of land in the city and other restrictions in place like the height of towers.

Rather, he pointed to the $91.1 million in benefits that Port Moody will realize from the project, including:

  • a new 2.5-acre park with a sports court and stage
  • a 2,000 sq. ft. indoor amenity space
  • a new pedestrian overpass connecting the neighbourhood to the Inlet Centre SkyTrain station

Combined, Jones said, that’s more than Coquitlam will be getting from Polygon’s redevelopment of the Coronation Heights site right next door that, when approved by council, will put nine residential towers for 5,500 residents on the property of a former elementary school.

Port Moody’s development planner Wesley Woo told council that while the city prefers to attain its 15 per cent affordability component, there is room to negotiate within a project’s total amenity package.

He added the city will be taking a close look at Wesgroup’s financial analysis and submit it for peer review.

Jones said his company is committed to working with the city to find solutions that work for everybody.

But, until it gets certainty the redevelopment of Coronation Park is moving forward, it can’t initiate negotiations with entities like BC Housing and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to achieve more affordable housing units.

“You never get the plan perfect on the first shot,” Jones said. “We work with our partners at the city to find a way to meet our goals together.”

Coun. Diana Dilworth said with years of negotiation with Wesgroup already in the rearview mirror to get the project to this point, it’s time to move forward with an opportunity for tweaks as its four planned phases come before council for development permits.

“This has come before council and committees and every time they’ve been given a shopping list,” she said. “At some point, we need to be bold enough to say let’s move forward.”

Still, the city must proceed cautiously, said Coun. Kyla Knowles.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime site,” she said. “Many of us think this could be bigger and better for all.”

Coun. Callan Morrison said he’s optimistic common ground can be found.

“I want to see this happen,” he said. “It’s time Port Moody had some plans for the future.”