Port Moody condo project could be headed to public hearing

Proposed 173-unit condo complex won praise from several councillors when they got a good look at it last January.

The developer who wants to build a 173-unit condo complex in the 3000-block of Henry Street in Port Moody is proposing more dedicated park space, increased protection for two nearby creeks and enhanced provisions for affordability.

But whether that will be enough to persuade councillors to send the project to a public hearing will be determined when it comes before council for first and second readings on Tuesday.

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Even if it does, a staff report is recommending a peer review of the project’s geotechnical challenges be completed before it proceeds because of its location at the foot of the Chines hillside where the soil could be prone to liquefaction in case of an earthquake.

Kevin Jones, Port Moody’s senior development planner, said the review is currently underway, with the costs being recovered from the developer, Navid Morawej, a local real estate financial consultant.

Morawej revived the project last year that was first pitched back in 2006 by another builder, then got as far as third reading at council in 2012 before changes to city bylaws regarding stream setbacks put it on the back burner.

Its evolution into an 11-storey, terraced, U-shaped complex nestled into the hillside seemed to win favour from Port Moody councillors when Morawej and architect Tim Ankenman made their first formal presentation on Jan. 25.

“I sort of imagine myself living there,” Coun. Hunter Madsen said.

Since then, Morawej has proposed increasing the portion of the property dedicated to park space by more than 3,000 sq. metres to 8,005 sq. metres. He’ll also contribute $25,000 towards the rehabilitation and construction of trails, as well as an additional $54,000 to help reduce the risk of wildfires where the complex backs onto forest.

The staff report said the project will also be in full compliance with city bylaws to protect two creeks that run through the property. In fact, the additional setback could even allow for the construction of trails, “though further work and clarification on the nature and materials of this pathway is required.”

In addition to indoor and outdoor amenity spaces, including one on the rooftop, as well as a co-working space, dog wash and bike maintenance areas, 17 units in the project will be made available to local buyers in a rent-to-own program. As well, a two-bedroom unit with two lock-off suites will be provided to a non-profit affordable housing provider, although the developer is asking the city help fund it by waiving about a third ($342,500) of the project’s $1.038 million community amenity contribution.

Still, Jones said in his report, the project “is seen as representing a positive addition to the community.”


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