Flavelle a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ for PoMo

Port Moody’s waterfront will look drastically different in coming years after city council adopted the amendment to its official community plan (OCP) at its meeting last Tuesday that will pave the way for the redevelopment of the Flavelle mill site into a high-density mixed-use neighbourhood that could include homes for up to 7,000 residents and jobs for more than 1,100 people.

But some councillors say putting that many people on to the 12.7-hectare site is a recipe for disaster.

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Coun. Hunter Madsen said the concept put forward by Flavelle to redevelop the mill site is “needlessly gargantuan” and will increase the burden on already busy roads and parks in Port Moody’s downtown.

“Our first responsibility is to protect quality of life for our downtown residents,” he said.

But other councillors cautioned it’s still early days, with no actual development proposal yet presented by the property’s owners.

“This is just the first step, we’ve got a long way to go,” said Coun. Meghan Lahti, of the vote to approve the OCP amendment that came after the Metro Vancouver board of directors also gave its assent to the city’s request for an amendment to its regional growth strategy to allow the site’s redevelopment. 

Bruce Gibson , Flavelle’s vice president of real estate management, said the company will spend the “coming months” creating a comprehensive master plan for the site just west of Rocky Point Park, with further opportunities for community involvement.

“We look forward to again working with the community, city staff, mayor and council as we start to create a uniquely Port Moody waterfront development honouring this historic location,” Gibson said.

Several councillors said they’ll work to hold the company to that commitment.

Coun. Diana Dilworth said the approval process and development of beloved projects like Newport Village, Suter Brook and Klahanie took many years, and she expects the same for the mill site.

“They were done in very strategic, phased approaches,” she said of those developments. “Initial plans that are presented change significantly based on what the community is asking for, based upon what council is asking for.”

What they should be asking for is more open public space along the shoreline that would extend Rocky Point Park westward, said Coun. Rob Vagramov, adding the company’s initial vision to build a boardwalk along the waterfront and dedicate almost a quarter of the site to public park and open spaces doesn’t go far enough.

“I like the idea of opening the space up,” he said.

Dilworth said the pressure is on everyone to create a development that fulfills the site’s potential and the community’s expectations.

“This is absolutely a once in a lifetime opportunity to enhance our shoreline,” she said.

mbartel@tricitynews.com

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