Balanced community: “More than a Bedroom Community! Building a Tech & Innovation Hub” — Updated
Update: A few news links, and city reply to a Freedom of Information Request.
City reply to Freedom of Information request
The FOI request was to do with potential future infrastructure. We hope further information will be made available soon, but below is what we currently have (from January 2015 to January 2019). Based on the amount of redactions it’s difficult to form an opinion.
From cover letter, reasons for redaction:
“The records you requested contain information that cannot be disclosed under sections 12, 17, and 22 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the Act). I have severed the portions of the records that cannot be disclosed so that we are able to disclose to you the remaining information in the records. The severed portions cannot be disclosed as they contain information regarding the substance of deliberations of meetings that were authorized to be held in the absence of the public; information about negotiations; and personal information, the disclosure of which would be an unreasonable invasion of a third party’s personal privacy if released.”
Release of information, material UP TO January 2019, not covering more recent months:
Sample from PDF, page 36 (click on PDF link below for entire document).
2019-FOI reply-Moody Centre-Severed documents (complete PDF document)
Part of the Moody Centre area in question is listed for sale by Colliers Canada.
Report to council, July 16, 2019 meeting, full report available here.
MCCA recommends review of the full document.
The meeting on July 16, 2019 starts at 7:00 pm, and there is a public input opportunity at the beginning of the meeting.
Councillor (and current acting mayor) Hunter Madsen has prepared a report to council asking “Which Destiny for Port Moody?” in which he makes the case for preferring a tech and innovation hub with quality employment opportunities in Moody Centre, in contrast to an area “dominated primarily by residential condo towers that offer only a smattering of office space, light industry, and retail shops around their base podiums.”
Page 14 of report:
Page 4 of report:
“Becoming just a bedroom community escalates homeowner tax burden. Bedroom communities burden their residents with rapidly escalating property taxes, because there isn’t enough vigorous, diverse local business to share the tax burden. Such communities must somehow provide all the essential services and amenities – parks, playgrounds, libraries, rec centers, seniors assistance, etc. – that growing residential populations demand, but are forced to fund these things disproportionately through heavy residential property taxes and usage fees. (In contrast, the neighbouring cities where commuters go to work and spend their daytime cash usually generate lots of business tax revenue that helps to underwrite the ample amenities of residents living in those locations.)”
This is not a new idea.
Discussions about quality employment in Moody Centre started in earnest years ago, but so far have continued to be de-railed.
The oft-heard phrase, a community in which to “live, work, and play” (used in the city’s Official Community Plan, and supporting plans) is not measuring up in terms of the “work” part of a balanced community.
In the past year, Port Moody hired an Economic Development Manager to explore opportunities, and the city’s Economic Development Committee has held discussions on generating employment-based development.
High-tech hub, 2009-
Former councillor Gerry Nuttall (and Freedom of the City recipient) worked on this concept (starting about 10 years ago).
Online, Tri-City News: Port Moody investigating high-tech park potential
Property owners in the Moody Centre TOD area should be well aware of the promotion of a technology/business hub that began many years ago.
Roundtable discussions in 2015: employment focused development
In early March 2015, the city hosted roundtable discussions with “senior members of the real estate development and brokerage community in Metro Vancouver … to offer their views on Port Moody’s competiveness in attracting development, especially employment-generating.” A report was presented to council in June 2015: Facilitating Employment-Based Development in Port Moody.
Some members of council felt the roundtable discussions could have been improved by inviting input from a broader group, such as reps from organizations that provide good quality employment. The report seemed to focus more on high-density residential development than it did on creating employment-related development.
It was agreed more work on Facilitating Employment-Based Development was necessary.
Official Community Plan (OCP), issues on employment numbers, 2015
Council adopted the current OCP in October 2014; however, Metro Vancouver (regional district) declared the OCP invalid and proceeded with a lawsuit against the city of Port Moody. There were several issues; one of them was employment numbers not aligning with the Regional Context Statement (RCS).
Metro Vancouver sent a letter dated March 10, 2015 to Port Moody outlining three outstanding issues.
“First, Metro 2040 projects employment for Port Moody to increase from 8,000 in 2006 to 18,000 in 2041, while the proposed RCS notes that employment will increase to 8,373 in 2021 and 9,573 in 2041. The RCS projections must be deemed ‘generally consistent’ with the regional projections, and this difference is quite significant.”
At council’s subsequent meeting on March 24, 2015, on-table items included revised employment projections, in which the Port Moody numbers were bumped up, and the Metro Vancouver/GVRD numbers were bumped down, apparently with the co-operation of MetroVan, as the “city is working towards goals” and moving in the right direction.
Port Moody employment numbers for 2041 were bumped up by about 2,000 (from 9,573 to 11,527), and the MetroVan numbers were bumped down by about 3,000 (settling at 15,000).
The discrepancy is still considerable, at about 3,500, but without the bumping up and down from the two stakeholders, it would have been much greater at about 8,500.
There is plenty of additional information on this site.
This is an important discussion that can guide Port Moody’s way forward with employment-focused development (or not).
We encourage residents to consider providing their input to council.
The Moody Centre Community Association (MCCA) welcomes your comments.