Port Moody looking at ways to ease pressure on Rocky Point Park

Rocky Point Park has become so popular, Port Moody council is directing city staff to tighten up the way applications to hold events there are reviewed.

Those changes include a framework to determine how frequently events should be held at the park, a time frame for accepting event applications and the development of a scorecard to evaluate them.

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But councillors didn’t shut the door on allowing the park to host commercially-presented events, instead instructing staff to report back on potential revenue streams for the city that could be generated by them.

Council also directed staff to prepare recommendations on improvements that could be done to Pioneer Memorial Park, across from the recreation centre, so it could handle some events.

Devin Jain, Port Moody’s manager of cultural services, told council there was five events that took 25 days — including set-up and tear-down — at Rocky Point in 2018 and that increased to nine events and 31 days of park use last summer. He said the city is currently anticipating seven events over 30 days for this year but “it’s still early in the year, so we do anticipate we’ll have more.”

In a report, Jain said the increasing demand to hold community events at Rocky Point creates wear on the grass, puts pressure on staff time and resources to support those events, and affects passive or quiet time for people visiting the park.

Jain said Pioneer Memorial Park’s location in a dense residential area and its proximity to transit makes it a viable alternative to take some of the event load from Rocky Point but it would need expensive upgrades, such as a power supply and water facilities.

Coun. Hunter Madsen questioned whether such an expense “makes financial sense for the city,” then suggested money could be generated by allowing paid events to be held at Rocky Point, with the city charging for its use.

“If paid events are of general broader interest and bring gain to the community, then I’m not predisposed to say we don’t do that kind of thing," he said.

Jain said the only current asset in the park that might be able to generate a rental fee is the stage, but that could change if event organizers are allowed to fence off areas of the park and charge admission.

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