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Letter: We should be welcoming development with open arms in Port Moody

I truly hope that Wesgroup can stay the course and not walk away from this project, and it continues to provide the vision and leadership needed for this neighbourhood, writes Port Moody's Derek McCarthy in an open letter to the company.
A conceptual rendering of what the proposed redevelopment of Port Moody's Coronation Park neighbourhood might look like from Ioco Road. | Wesgroup

The Editor:

Re: Massive Coronation Park redevelopment could be in peril, Port Moody council warned (Nov. 24, 2021).

A letter to Brad Jones, senior vice-president of development for Wesgroup Properties.


I think those two words you said to Port Moody council are the best way to sum up the feelings that Wesgroup, Coronation Park residents as well any other developer that has had to try and work with this dysfunctional council for the last three years.

You are not the first as they did the same thing at the Moody Station proposals as well.

I applaud councillors Meghan Lahti and Diana Dilworth for publicly apologizing for how this council has treated Wesgroup and Coronation Park residents as well as stating the obvious: That this is nothing short of delay tactics by the majority of council, as it is clear they have no will to develop and move forward as they seem to only listen to minority of residents against development — not the majority that are for it.

Like in most case scenarios, the minority seems to talk the loudest and therefore gets the attention. The old saying goes, The squeaky wheel gets the oil, but you know sometimes the squeaky wheel just needs to be replaced.

The next election is in a year. I truly hope the good people of Port Moody get it right this time. Sorry, Coun. Madsen, I had to steal your line.

You provided the first proposal at first reading; council gave you a lengthy list of wants (demands) and you accommodated them with the required changes 100 per cent — only for them to change the parameters again.

Is there a pattern here? I think so. You have proposed a development here that the city could be proud of for generations to come. It could be the gateway to Port Moody.

Coronation is an aging community of 70-year-old houses and over 40-year-old townhouses that have served their purpose. Residents there want to move on but can't as they are under contract. This neighbourhood needs to be rejuvenated.

All the excuses from the mayor and councillors Madsen and Milani about why it can't be done, such as traffic studies and the Coronation Heights proposal, making the statement about how they got to get this right.

Meghan Lahti said it best when stating all this additional information can be gathered after the OCP amendment is approved, but before the company applies for zoning changes.

This is the the RIGHT proposal for this neighbourhood. I am sure it can still be tweaked for the better of the community, but council should stop putting up roadblocks and start providing solutions: Work with the developer and the professionals.

Look at how well lack of vision and action has worked in Abbotsford and Merritt.

I mean really they couldn't have addressed this a year ago at first reading. Once again delay tactics and no will to get it done.

Like they didn't know massive high rises were coming at the old school site and now hold that as an excuse. If previous councils had the vision years ago to allow development there, we would still have a school there and the Coronation Heights proposal would then not exist.

Now to get to the closest elementary school, they have to cross a four-lane road (Guildford Way). I believe it's time to to hold the appropriate people responsible for not providing the city with what it truly needs.

Lack of housing and affordable housing are big problems and are the reasons why the prices have spiralled out of control.

We should be welcoming development with open arms and holding developers to task to the true needs of the city — not delaying projects, but improving them while moving forward.

There is no supply and a huge demand to live in Port Moody. This proposal would be a big step in helping this problem.

Port Moody is a very desirable community and it's expensive. Home ownership will never be affordable for the younger generations without help from the bank of mom and dad.

I welcome you forwarding this to all the residents of Coronation Park that you currently have under contract. I am sure you have all their contact info. I encourage them to all to write to the city of how this has affected their lives in the last six years — with no relief in sight and being held hostage.

I truly hope that Wesgroup can stay the course and not walk away from this project, and it continues to provide the vision and leadership needed for this neighbourhood. 

- Derek McCarthy "Blindsided and flabbergasted," Port Moody