Mixed bag of public feedback on Port Moody's draft OCP

Feedback on Port Moody's draft official community plan shows the public is somewhat split on the proposal.

At Tuesday's committee of the whole meeting, PoMo planning staff presented council with a hefty package containing the draft OCP, along with about 700 pages of public engagement results.

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About 250 feedback forms were received during the three-week period in April and May when the online survey was active on the city's website.

The forms asked residents to show, on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being "Don't Like" and 5 being "Like"), their thoughts on the proposal for each of the seven sub-areas in the OCP.

The results:

Gateway - mixed-use neighbourhood with building heights of six to 12 storeys at the end of Barnet Highway, a prominent public art piece and development that complements the nearby heritage conservation area (Glenayre, College Park, Seaview and Harbour Heights stay largely the same).

60% like (4 and 5), 17% neutral (3) and 23% don't like (1 and 2)

Spring Street Promenade - area between Douglas Street and Electronic Avenue with buildings limited to three or four storeys.

58% like, 19% neutral, 23% don't like

Heritage Commercial District - Preserve existing heritage buildings while integrating with new development, mix of commercial and residential with buildings of three to four storeys.

73% like, 16% neutral, 11% don't like

Murray Street Boulevard - Area between Mary Street and Electronic Avenue would include development of light industrial, commercial, office and residential uses with buildings up to six storeys (on the south side).

64% like, 16% neutral, 20% don't like

Oceanfront District - Mill and Timber sawmill site would become a mixed-use neighbourhood with residential, commercial, marina and light industrial in low to high rise forms of up to 28 storeys. A special study area, it would require a development plan to ensure waterfront access, links across the CP Rail tracks and historical preservation as part of any proposal for redevelopment.

50% like, 13% neutral, 37% don't like

Moody Centre - Anchored by the Evergreen station, this area offers the highest concentration of commercial and residential uses in a pedestrian-friendly neighbourhood with low to high rises of up to 20 storeys.

51% like, 17% neutral, 32% don't like

Moody Centre mid-rise option - This option offers lower density in buildings of five to 12 storeys.

54% like, 17% neutral, 29% don't like

Inlet Centre - Consideration for mid- and highrise buildings in Coronation Park of three to 30 storeys, multi-family housing up to four storeys in the 3300-block of Dewdney Trunk Road, mixed-use developments of up to 12 storeys on the north side and up to six storeys on the south side would be considered. The Honda dealership, Esso station and Onni Suter Brook Parcel D sites could also be up to 30 storeys.

54% like, 12% neutral, 34% don't like

Inlet Centre mid-rise option - Similar to Moody Centre, this option offers lower density in buildings of five to 12 storeys.

51% like, 16% neutral, 33% don't like

Consistent concerns throughout the survey focused on increased traffic, the need for more parks and open space, pedestrian and cyclist use, impacts on view corridors and, in some areas, a desire for lower building heights and density.

"Densification planning must not compromise Port Moody's livability," wrote one resident. "Don't densify... without specifically planning for land to be designated for parks, rec and open space."

"I support highrise densification on the eastern and western ends of Port Moody," wrote another resident. "If we densify Moody Centre... it will become a tunnel of darkness because of geography."

Another resident praised the plan, saying the OCP update reflected a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop a modern Port Moody for the next generation of Port Moody residents."

Council members thanked staff for their hard work and said the would enjoyed reading through each page of the hefty package to gauge public reaction to the OCP draft.

Coun. Rick Glumac kicked off discussion on the Coronation Park neighbourhood, where the draft OCP suggests buildings of three to 30 storeys, saying residents spoke out loudly against such a proposal.

"There are concerns about having walls of buildings, and we don't want to see that in Port Moody," Glumac said before making a motion to limit building heights to four storeys until a neighbourhood area plan could be completed.

Several council members agreed that 30 storeys might be too high for that area, given residents' concerns, but cautioned against deciding on building heights before hearing more from the public at town hall meetings scheduled for June.

"I'd rather hear from the public and come back in the fall, and make it definitive then," said Coun. Diana Dilworth, adding the feedback received so far represents only about 1% of PoMo's population.

Council later agreed to present the public with neighbourhood options showing low-rise, mid-rise and mixed building forms.

The public will be able to offer additional feedback next month at town hall meetings on June 8 and 18. It's expected staff will then incorporate the additional feedback and bring the draft OCP back for council review in the fall, when additional public input opportunities will be scheduled.

Residents can also offer their thoughts on the draft plan at any time by emailing ocp@portmoody.ca.

spayne@tricitynews.com

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