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Letter: Luxury towers won't solve Port Moody's housing woes

More affordable options needed, writer says
A rendering of the Coronation Park proposal.

The Editor:

Re: Massive Coronation Park redevelopment could be in peril, Port Moody council warned

This Tuesday (Nov. 23), Port Moody council voted 4-3 to defer second reading of Wesgroup's proposal to redevelop part of Coronation Park. That was the right thing for our community.

At first reading of Wesgroup's proposal last January, Port Moody did not have a housing needs report completed.

Now we do.

The report provided a snapshot of a dire situation. What it showed was that while we have continued to increase the number of multi-family residential units in Port Moody, affordability of all types of housing has continued to decrease. The fact is even purchasing a condo is now far out of reach for most people. It also showed that what we need to focus on is affordable housing for families - not one-bedroom condos or micro-suites. 

How does the Wesgroup proposal meet our housing needs as a community? How do six luxury towers, likely to be mostly 1-2 bedrooms, likely close to $1M or more each, meet the needs of families? Of seniors? Of new immigrants? Not one councillor was able to (or even attempted to) answer this question during Tuesday night's council meeting. 

Do we really understand the implications of adding over 12,000 new people (between Port moody and Coquitlam) to the Coronation Park area? On our traffic, parks? The scale of Westgroup's proposal alone is massive - on a scale almost as big as Newport, Suter Brook and Klahanie combined. Imagine that. 

We need to get this right. This is not a time for guessing or assuming. This is not a time to give into pressure from a developer or to feel rushed into a decision. It's not a time for saying "not what we want, but good enough so let's move on". This decision is about our entire community. Not only one neighbourhood.

I want to see Coronation Park developed into a higher-density vibrant community. We need diverse housing types that offer a scale of affordability across a spectrum of residents.

Luxury towers alone are not going to solve Port Moody's housing needs.

We deserve better.

- Haven Lurbiecki, Port Moody