Pamela Anderson wants Port Moody council to save Bert Flinn park

A celebrity lifeguard wants Port Moody council to save Bert Flinn Park from ever being divided by a road.

Pamela Anderson, known for her role as lifeguard C.J. Parker on the 1990’s TV show, Baywatch, has sent a letter to Mayor Rob Vagramov and councillors imploring the city “to scrap plans for building any future road through the park.”

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Council is scheduled to decide at its meeting Tuesday whether to remove an existing right-of-way for an extension of David Avenue that has been in the city’s official community plan for years. 

In her letter, Anderson, who’s also an international spokesperson for the animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), asks council “to consider the bears, coyotes, deer, frogs, birds and other animals who call the park home.”

The British Columbia-native said the issue of allowing a possible roadway to be built through the park “perfectly illustrates the global struggle between unsustainable development and the ethical imperative to protect nature and its many inhabitants.”

Moira Colley, a media officer for PETA, said Anderson recently moved back to her home province and she was made aware of the issues surrounding Bert Flinn Park by another PETA supporter in Port Moody. She said that person wishes to remain anonymous.

Anderson “felt compelled to speak out since this affects an area near her, as well as so many animals,” she added.

Anderson has spoken out on several issues through her years as an activist. In 2006 she tried to speak to Prime Minister Stephen Harper about seal hunting in Canada but was rebuffed. In 2015 she wrote an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin urging him to prevent the passage of a ship containing whale meat through that country’s Northeast Passage en route to Japan.

The right-of-way through Bert Flinn has been little more than a gravel path used by hikers, runners and cyclists to access the 311-acre parcel of forested land since before it was formally turned into a park in 1999, following a civic referendum. 

But with the potential development of the Ioco Lands, turning the right-of-way into an actual roadway has been regarded as an option to facilitate population growth as well as relieve congestion along Ioco Road.

In his motion to be debated at Tuesday’s meeting, Vagromov said the results of last October’s civic election, public consultation with Port Moody residents as well as “countless emails” indicate “significant public support” for removal of the right-of-way. Although, he added, the current gravel access path will remain.

Coun. Hunter Madsen, who co-founded the citizen's group, Save Bert Flinn Park, before he was elected to council in a 2017 by-election, said while he's glad Anderson, and PETA, cite "the value of Bert Flinn's natural ecosytem," he's confident the community "has already settled into its views on the Park's future."

Vagramov’s motion will also seek to limit the density of any future development of the Ioco Lands to its current zoning, which allows for the construction of 111 single-family homes.

After two initial rounds of public consultation, and two architects, Brilliant Circle Group (BCG) has been largely quiet on its plans for the 232-acre Ioco Lands recently, and the website it built to keep residents apprised of its progress has gone dark.

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