Port Moody asked its residents if they had any good ideas about how to generate revenue for the city but the process didn’t seem to produce any new ones.
A report to the city’s finance committee Tuesday summarized a citizen advisory group workshop held last month. The city had gone to the people because its debt per capita has gone from $5 in 2005 to $577 in 2019.
“While the city currently has sufficient debt capacity, it is not limitless and needs to be kept in check,” said the report from city finance manager Paul Rockwood that pointed out future revenue is needed to pay for increasing costs, infrastructure renewal and economic growth.
Much of the workshop’s discussion centred around the pros and cons of pay parking, casino, advertising and development revenue. But other possibilities from the workshop included attracting a post-secondary institution, movie productions and a hotel (Coquitlam is also looking to attract a hotel to its City Centre area.). Also suggested was encouraging Air BnBs and taxing them, and adding more festivals, leasing public land to restaurants, allowing food trucks and expanding city facility rentals.
Rockwood told council most of the ideas had been heard before. He said there were some suggestions that have legal and practical limitations that made them unfeasible.
There was some support for Port Moody to venture into the pay parking business because, amongst several reasons, it would encourage people to use alternate forms of transit to the personal vehicle, including public transit, walking and cycling.
Of those who commented, 37 backed pay parking, 26 were neutral and 20 opposed. There was concern about the cost of administering the program and the negative effect pay parking would have on business and neighbourhoods.
Only 23 of 74 respondents supported a casino, especially if it was part of a convention centre, resort or entertainment district. Another 23 were neutral, with the 28 objectors either thinking Port Moody was not an appropriate place for a casino or it would increase traffic and crime.
Twenty-eight commenters said advertising billboards and naming rights were good ideas to generate revenue, with 17 neutral; 21 were opposed to the concept because they didn’t feel it was an appropriate way to get more money.
Allowing more development in Port Moody to help fill the city’s coffers was to the liking of 37, with 21 neutral and 28 opposed.