A public hearing for zoning amendments that are needed to allow the largest redevelopment project in Port Moody's history to proceed will be held Oct. 3.
It's the second chance for residents to weigh in on the proposal by Vancouver-based Wesgroup Properties to turn the city's Coronation Park neighbourhood of aging single-family homes into a dense, mixed-use development that will eventually house more than 5,500 people in six residential towers up to 31 storeys.
In 2022, a public hearing was also held prior to council's approval of changes to Port Moody’s official community plan to accommodate the project.
In addition to the condo towers, Wesgroup is also planning to build:
- a six-storey rental building with 101 units available in a rent-to-own program
- a four-storey office building that could be increased to six storeys
- commercial space for a grocery store and drug store along Ioco Road
- two daycares
- a 2.5-acre park
- 2,000 sq. ft. of community amenity space to be managed and programmed by the city
- a pedestrian overpass connected to the Inlet Centre SkyTrain station
In a letter to the Tri-City News, Wesgroup's senior vice-president of development, Brad Jones, said the proposal offers the community "significant… amenity benefits."
You can read Wesgroup's full letter to Port Moody below.
Previously Jones told council those benefits would amount to about $91 million including off-site infrastructure upgrades to surrounding roads, intersections and cycling paths, as well as the new pedestrian overpass, public park and amenity space.
And while several financial analyses commissioned by the developer and independently reviewed by a consultant bolster Wesgroup’s contention that including an affordable housing component in the project isn’t financially viable unless its overall density is increased with more buildings or higher towers, Jones said he remains optimistic some level of affordability could still be achieved.
"Government programs, like the BC Housing's Community Housing Fund and CMHC's Rental Construction Financing Initiative, are another way to help make affordable rental possible," he stated.
"However, before committing funds to a project like Coronation Park, BC Housing and CMHC require rezoning approval."
Jones said moving the project closer to approval is important to help relieve pressure on Metro Vancouver’s housing crisis.
"We are optimistic about this council's recognition of the significant need to increase the delivery of new housing in the region."
In June, Port Moody was among 10 municipalities cited by B.C.'s housing minister Ravi Kahlon to step up its efforts to help ease the crisis as part of the Housing Supply Act that gives the province authority to set local housing targets.
Mayor Meghan Lahti said the city is ready and eager to comply. She noted its taken several steps to streamline the approval process for development proposals.
But concerns about the Coronation Park plan remain.
One of them is the number of jobs being created in the project falls short of council’s desired ratio of 42 for every 100 residents.
"This is a missed opportunity," said Coun. Haven Lurbeicki, who cast the only dissenting vote for second reading of the zoning amendments.
There’s also questions around traffic impacts, especially with Coquitlam’s approval of Polygon Homes' proposal to build 5,500 new homes in the 10-acre Coronation Heights neighbourhood right next door.
As well, Wesgroup has only committed to spend $6 million on the overpass, which it intends to build during the third phase of construction.
Port Moodys assistant manager of planning, Wesley Woo, said the city is looking into the possibility of securing additional funding for the overpass, as well as accelerating its timeline to be built.
"I do want to make sure there isn’t a significant future cost passed on to the city," said Coun. Callan Morrison about the developer's intentions for the structure.
While Wesgroup's plan hasn't had an easy ride since it was first brought to Port Moody's previous council more than three years ago and almost collapsed altogether in 2021, Jones said more than 68 modifications since its original concept have resulted in a project "we believe Port Moody can be proud of."
The Oct. 3 public meeting will be the first for which every address in Port Moody has been advised by a special mail-out. Normally only addresses within 140 metres of a proposed development receive written notification of a public hearing as it could directly impact their property.
The extraordinary notification was approved by council Sept. 12 because of the project’s scope and concerns electronic notices on the city's website and social media channels wouldn’t reach everyone after the end of the Tri-City News' print edition in August meant the city could no longer publish notices there.
"This development will impact almost everyone in the community," Coun. Diana Dilworth said. "It's our duty to make sure everyone knows about this."
If the project is ultimately approved, Jones said its first residents would likely be able to move in in 2028.
The Oct. 3 public hearing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at 100 Newport Dr.
You can visit Port Moody's website to learn more about how to participate in person, virtually, or by submitting written input.
Letter to Port Moody
The following was submitted to the Tri-City News from Brad Jones, senior vice-president, development, for Wesgroup Properties
On Tuesday, Oct. 3, the rezoning application for the Coronation Park development will be going to public hearing before Port Moody city council.
This proposal is the result of over three years of process, input and consultation, which has included 12 appearances at city council and 68 plan modifications, four third-party financial analyses and ongoing engagement with Port Moody residents.
Together with council, staff and the community, we have arrived at a proposal for a neighbourhood that we believe Port Moody can be proud of.
This application is consistent with the City of Port Moody’s Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment approved by the previous council in April 2022 and we remain optimistic as we bring forward a concept that has significant community amenity benefits.
We are acutely aware of the housing crisis facing our region and are actively exploring ways to add more affordability to this project. In today's economy, with rising interest rates and construction costs, the cost of time is critical and the delivery of all forms of housing is imperative.
To date, four third-party financial analyses have been undertaken by either the city or by Wesgroup which have reviewed the viability of adding affordable housing to the project. These studies have all come to the same conclusion: The project does not have the capacity to deliver affordable housing beyond the requests of the OCP without additional density.
But there is reason for optimism.
Government programs, like the BC Housing's Community Housing Fund and CMHC's Rental Construction Financing Initiative, are another way to help make affordable rental possible; however, before committing funds to a project like Coronation Park, BC Housing and CMHC require rezoning approval.
That's why it is so important that this rezoning be approved.
As our region struggles to provide enough housing for residents, now is the time for new housing to be approved.
We are optimistic about this council's recognition of the significant need to increase the delivery of new housing in this region.
Wesgroup has significant experience building master-planned communities, and we will be at the table in Port Moody and with council delivering those much-needed homes for years to come.
Together, we can create a vibrant and resilient neighbourhood that is truly "Made in Port Moody."