Scrap the road, unite Bert Flinn Park: Port Moody councillor

Bert Flinn Park will be on Port Moody council's agenda when it meets again after the August break.

Bert Flinn Park will be on Port Moody council's agenda when it meets again after the August break.

At the end of Tuesday's council meeting, Coun. Rob Vagramov issued a lengthy notice of motion that seeks to remove the David Avenue connector right-of-way and incorporate those 22 acres into Bert Flinn Park, and to have staff report back on enhanced parking at the David Avenue and April Road entrances to the park.

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The David Avenue connector is a Port Moody requirement before any development can occur on the Ioco lands. The developer Brilliant Circle Group is proposing to build on a 232-acre portion of the property.

But Vagramov told The Tri-City News yesterday that his motion has nothing to do with any potential development and waiting for an Ioco proposal before deciding on whether the road should be built is a "false choice."

In a preamble to the motion, Vagramov said his job has been "difficult for a number of reasons" but that the decisions council makes are based on principle.

"We don't have public input on most of our decisions, public consultation is only for the bigger things," he said at the meeting. "It's really rare to have an issue come up that is so obviously supported by the community that it's basically important or impossible to ignore."

Vagramov said Thursday he wouldn't be opposed to public consultation but that the number of people who signed the Save Bert Flinn Park petition and attended the rally in June was "the community saying loud and clear they don't want this road."

"Of course, not everyone is going to be participating, but city council has made decisions with less people involved," he added. "I see it as a clear mandate from the community."

The David Avenue connector was first identified in the 1984 official community plan, but Vagramov said its original purpose — serving Neighbourhoods 3 and 4 — has been abandoned, and the road is no longer needed.
Bert Flinn Park was created after a referendum in 1999, which preserved the swath of north shore land as a natural area, densifying the town centre instead.

Asked what the alternative route should be if the Ioco lands are developed, Vagramov said those decisions would be made once the city receives a formal proposal from the developers.

The motion will be discussed at council's Sept. 13 meeting.

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