The organizer of the Rally for Port Moody Parks on Sept. 30 denies it is timed to help a city council candidate who is the founder of the group planning the event.
Jeff Poste of the group Save Bert Flinn Park — which was started by Coun. Hunter Madsen, who is running for re-election in the Oct. 20 contest — said the timing of the event and its message aren’t meant to be political but he hopes prospective politicians vying for a seat on PoMo council pay attention. He said the rally is about alerting the community to threats posed by rapid growth to green spaces all over the city.
“We want to make people aware Port Moody is a jewel, and we need to preserve this,” Poste told The Tri-City News, noting the group has yet to receive a permit for the planned rally location at Pioneer Park.
“It’s their duty as elected officials to understand what the people of Port Moody want,” he said.
Poste said the group’s frustration has been growing since city council voted in July to retain the right-of-way for David Avenue that bisects Bert Flinn, keeping open the option of turning it into a road to relieve traffic pressure on Ioco Road. That right-of-way has been on the city books since the 1980s.
Madsen voted against retaining the right of way in July and said this week he would be “remiss” if he didn’t show up to the rally. He told The Tri-City News he doesn’t see the rally as a campaign device “but if it gets the attention of candidates, so much the better.”
"The timing seems good," he added.
Madsen also said he has taken a step back from his leadership role in Save Bert Flinn Park but is still a co-organizer.
Council's decision earlier this summer came after reviewing a staff report on possibilities for a David Avenue extension. It followed two hours of public input during which the majority of speakers favoured retaining the option because Ioco Road is already too dangerous and congested to handle any more traffic to and from any future development of the Ioco lands.
The right-of-way was part of the 1999 referendum that created the park and the staff report on the motion recommended it remain as an option because Ioco Road has limited capacity to accommodate more traffic generated by possible development on the Ioco lands.
At the time, Coun. Diana Dilworth said the city should keep its options open until the owner of those lands, the Brilliant Circle Group, makes a development proposal for its 250 acres, 100 of which are in Port Moody and the rest in Anmore. (Brilliant Circle has not yet brought any proposals to the city or to Anmore.)
And Mayor Mike Clay said at that meeting keeping the option doesn't mean the city will build the road.
Sept. 14: An earlier version of the story has been clarified to include Hunter Madsen's current role with Save Bert Flinn Park.