Letter: Is the future of Port Moody's parkland a strip of grass among highrises?

The Editor:

Re. "Port Moody council cautiously optimistic about Coronation Park plan," (The Tri-City News, May 21)

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I have immense concern regarding the pre-application submitted by Wesgroup Properties for the development of Coronation Park addressed May 19 at Port Moody’s the Special Committee of the Whole Meeting.

The current proposal goes against responsible and common sense development. It fails to align with the vision and values that I and the majority of residents of Port Moody voted for during the last municipal election. This includes ensuring the city does not exceed our current Official Community Plan (OCP) growth targets and that urban parkland is acquired in proportion to population growth and in alignment with the city's 2.5 hectares per 1000 people parkland target found within the Parks and Recreation Master Plan (2015). 

We have an OCP for a reason. Yet, it is common practice for developers to show up to the table with no regard for our OCP, asking for amendments to fit their vision for profits, and not our vision as a city. If we are not going to follow the OCP — a document based on fulsome community engagement — then why even bother having one? 

And the fact is the OCP was already amended in 2017 to allow for high-density development of Coronation Park up to 26 floors and 2,200 units. The current proposal by Wesgroup Properties pushes the envelope even further: 2,800 units will bring well over 5,000 more people to Inlet Centre. An OCP amendment would allow for 34 to 36 floors and include a reduction in minimum tower separation. In other words, the developer is asking the city to support cramming as many people as possible into the smallest area possible so they can make maximum profit. 

Obvious impacts from this development will include increased local congestion (think the breweries), increased vehicle traffic (think St. John's), and overcrowding of existing walkable parkland already pushed to its limits (think Shoreline Trail and Rocky Point). We need more parkland closer to where people actually live. The proposed one acre strip of grass within high rises does not meet this definition and is simply egregious for a development of this size. 

This proposal is only one of many large-scale developments on the horizon for Port Moody in addition to numerous smaller-scale developments. If we only consider developments currently on the table we already are looking at overshooting our growth projections by over 100%. The cumulative effects of these developments will drastically alter the landscape and functioning of this city and the quality of life it is known for. 

In summary: Coronation Park is a common sense location for more high density development; but, development needs to stay within the existing OCP targets and it needs to include more parkland. This development is simply over the top. 

Haven Lurbiecki, Port Moody

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