Editorial: Too soon to judge David Ave extension

The right-of-way has long been contemplated for a road but protest is mounting

A group opposing a road through Bert Flinn Park for development of the former Ioco lands may be jumping the gun in its quest to protect Port Moody's north shore forests.

Although the group has successful in alarming residents who currently use the right-of-way for walking, biking and dog-walking, there are still many unanswered questions about the David Avenue extension project.

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That's because the developer, Brilliant Circle Group, has yet to make any formal proposal, and for that reason, it's hard to believe the group's assertion that the new route will be a "noisy high-traffic express way."

Clearly, a lot of work has to be done, including environmental studies and community consultation, before the developer can build what was initially pegged as a $24-million road with a $16-million bridge over Mossom Creek.

Certainly, the developer has history on its side — nobody can argue that the David Avenue extension was hidden from public view as it has been on the books since the 1980s and 1990s as part of a route to Squamish.

Later, Imperial Oil hired McElhanney Consulting Services to study several alignments for developing the Ioco property, with recommendations based on a route that would use the existing right-of-way and would keep impacts on Anmore properties and Mossom Creek to a minimum.

Those plans have since been scrapped and it's now up to Brilliant Circle Group to come up with a plan to meet Port Moody and Anmore needs as well as deal with resident misgivings. Given the public's sense of ownership over the local forest, that will be a challenge.

Port Moody council has a lot to think about, too. A David Avenue extension has long been on the books and is, in fact, a city requirement for future development of the area.

At the same time, the city has been on record as opposing development on PoMo's north shore and the result is Bert Flinn Park.

Can the park be protected with a road running through it? With an election on the horizon in 2018, it's likely this project will be a defining issue for now and into the future.

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