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Where's the fruit and veg? Port Moody council asks about new project that includes Bosa Foods

The six-storey building on Port Moody's St. Johns Street also includes 48 rental apartments.
A proposed six-storey rental project on St. Johns Street includes a Bosa Foods grocery store with an outdoor patio.

A proposal for a new six-storey mixed-use rental building that includes a Bosa Foods specialty grocery store in Port Moody could use a little more heritage character in its architecture, some affordable units and a full set of traffic signals at the southwest corner of St. Johns and Queens streets.

But mostly it needs fresh fruit and vegetables, say city councillors.

In their first opportunity to provide comment on the project that's designed by Cornerstone Architecture at Tuesday’s, Nov. 21, meeting of council’s city initiatives and planning committee, councillors lauded its 48 rental apartments that include 12 two-bedroom units as well as seven with three bedrooms.

They also praised the developer's commitment to make half the units adaptable for residents with mobility challenges.

Coun. Diana Dilworth said she liked the life the store’s outdoor patio attached to its café will bring to the streetscape and Coun. Amy Lubik loved the greenhouse to be built on the roof.

But it was their concern about the types of products the 9,620 sq. ft. grocery store that's known for its deli area and wide selection of Italian specialty foods that caught most of council's attention and prompted a call for the city to work with the retailer to ensure fresh fruit and vegetables will also be on offer.

"I've heard concerns from residents about a food desert in that area," said Coun. Haven Lurbiecki, referencing the lack of any kind of grocery store in Port Moody west of the Thrifty’s in Suter Brook Village.

"Will Bosa fulfill the needs of the community?"

Coun. Kyla Knowles, who lives in the west end of the city, said she's also heard concerns from her neighbours that they need more ready access to a full-service grocery store.

"It's difficult for residents in this area," she said, adding a new grocery store that’s planned as part of the redevelopment of Port Moody's Woodland Park neighbourhood is still a ways away.

"It would be great if Bosa could consider supplying fresh fruit and vegetables."

Currently, the Thrifty's is the only grocery store in the city. Another, the IGA at Heritage Mountain Shopping Centre, closed in October.

And while a 40,000 sq.ft. grocery store is part of a plan by Vancouver-based PCI Developments to build two 39-storey rental towers next to the Moody Centre SkyTrain station, it’s also in the early-stages of the approval process by city council.

"I wonder if there would be an opportunity to work with Bosa to bring in fresh fruit and vegetables as this application goes forward," suggested Lubik.