There was standing room only at Inlet Theatre Wednesday as more than 300 people flooded Port Moody council chambers to throw bouquets and brickbats to council for the city's draft official community plan.
Dozens called for the preservation of the ocean waterfront instead of towers while others lauded higher density proposed along the Evergreen Line route. Several people suggested the city purchase the Mill and Timber site - currently an operating mill with about 80 employees - and use it for park space.
"We will lose what we value most, namely the small-town feel, charm and ambiance," said Reiner Specht, who has formed an ad-hoc group called Port Moody Citizens' Coalition to oppose the OCP changes.
"A lot of people don't want skyscrapers," said Ron Simpson. "Let's see growth on a human scale."
Rod MacVicar, the city's 2012 environment award winner for his work promoting marine research on the inlet, said the city could get a good deal if it bought the Mill and Timber property. "We are losing an opportunity to pick up this site and do something with it," he said.
Others said the city will benefit from higher density because it would preserve greenspace while adding more services close to people's homes.
DIVISION ON DENSITY
"I think its important to have density to support business," said Helen Daniels, who lives and operates a business on the city's west side.
Kirk Seggie, representing Andrés Wines/Peller Estates (a special study area in the plan), said the OCP would provide more shops and services for the west end of town and provide 10 times more employment then the old wine operation did, calling the plan an "exciting vision for that part of town."
Several speakers also provided council with a divided view of the Coronation Park area, a single-family neighbourhood in what would be part of the Inlet Centre area. Some said they wanted the area to remain single-family while others favour more multi-family housing.
The new OCP is one of the most eagerly anticipated draftings of a long-term vision for the city in many years since a previous one called for zero growth until the Evergreen Line was approved. The draft will go before council Dec. 10 and the city is still accepting questions and comments at #pmocp on Twitter and Facebook.
According to the plan, which has been updated since the original draft presented last spring, PoMo could see growth in population from about 34,509 to 59,000 by 2041.
The largest jump would be in the contentious Ocean Front area, on the Mill and Timber site, which would see an influx of 3,910 people, if the plan is approved and future projects pass muster.
Other population projections are: 3,769 in the so-called Westport neighbourhoods (Charles Street area, Andres Wines), 955 in the Heritage Commercial district, 2,069 in a new Murray Street neighbourhood, 3,075 in Moody Centre and 3,594 in Inlet Centre.
For further information, including a video recap of Tuesday's meeting and the updated OCP, visit here.