Port Moody condos to get public hearing

A 117-unit, six-storey condo development proposed for just east of the Shopper’s Drug Mart store on St. Johns Street in Port Moody will go to a public hearing July 23 — despite reservations expressed by city staff in a report.

If eventually approved, the project, by Porte Development Corp., would comprise 68 one-bedroom and one-bedroom-plus-den units, 39 two-bedroom and two-bedroom-plus-den suites and 10 three-bedroom condos. There would also be commercial units on the building’s ground floor.

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Ten of the residential units would be rental, with one of them to be made available at 10% below market rates.

But the city staff report, prepared by Port Moody’s acting manager of development planning, Doug Allan, said that’s not enough considering the city’s goal of attaining 10% rental units in new projects. Allan also said the company’s proposed 10-year rental term is insufficient.

At Port Moody council’s meeting June 25, Coun. Diana Dilworth said the developer had already increased the number of rental units from six after it received feedback when the project was presented to the city’s community planning advisory committee. She said it wouldn’t be fair to keep moving the goalposts as the city has yet to implement a hard requirement for rental units.

Dilworth also pointed out there are hundreds of rental units set to be built in that immediate area, just a short walk from the Inlet Centre SkyTrain station. They include 229 rental units at the PC Urban project on Dewdney Trunk Road; 142 units at Woodbridge’s development just east of Moray Street; and 76 rentals to be a part of Onni’s latest phase to its Suter Brook Village. All of them are in the early stages of construction.

Dilworth said that influx of units will have a moderating effect on rental rates.

Acting Mayor Meghan Lahti said the city needs to keep pushing the developer to increase its guarantee beyond 10 years to keep those rental units for tenants.

While some councillors expressed concern about the viability of the commercial units, Coun. Zoe Royer they would a valuable and welcome addition to the pedestrian corridor headed to the Inlet Centre SkyTrain station. She also said she likes the idea of turning the retaining wall that runs along the existing sidewalk just east of the proposed project into a canvas for some sort of public art to make the area more hospitable for pedestrians.

In his report, Allan said the developer has committed to providing a contribution to the city’s public art fund and is still discussing whether that should be directed towards enlivening the retaining wall.

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