Townhall speaking notes, uncut

Below is the complete text I prepared for the town hall OCP meeting of November, 27, 2013, as president of the Moody Centre Community Association.  Due to speaker time limits of 2 minutes maximum – not communicated in advance – I was unable to finish and the microphone was turned off.

At that point, Mayor Clay said, “without the intention of being be rude, but council is aware of our timeline and your time at the microphone is best spent on what you believe the issues to be, not recounting our process that we are all fully aware of.”

Many people were unable to complete their prepared speaking notes before the microphone was turned off.

*****************************

Hello.  My name is Hazel Mason, president of the Moody Centre Community Association.

Last May, then president Wendy Swalwell and I — as vice-president at the time — sent a package to council including resident feedback.  It was included in the 948- page long agenda package for May 21.  Our submission began on page 622 and ended at page 689, containing the overwhelmingly negative responses we received from residents.

Our cover letter titled OCP process — public consultation and timeline — is near the end.

I’d like to briefly recap and update to here and now.

This OCP process began with:

A May 2012 open house where people were invited to fill out questionnaires with leading questions premised on transit-oriented development.  120 responses were received.

A June 2012 “charette” attended by 44 people, many of them connected to the development industry.  I attended the charette and our prep materials said our “mission” was to plan increased population density by 2 to 3 hundred percent in the new town centre (loco) area, and 3 to 4 hundred percent in the Moody Centre area.  Lego and architects were provided to assist us.  I came prepared with research and questions that went mostly ignored.

An October 2012 city summary report suggesting the community was on board with massive densification — but that conclusion is not supported by the numbers.

BECAUSE …  the city report gave much more weight to the charette 44 than to the general public 120 —resulting in flawed reporting.

In our May correspondence, we also advised that MCCA was still awaiting a city-sponsored workshop in Moody Centre as recommended and agreed upon by council in late 2012.

That workshop never happened.

BUT — our association held its own town hall in January at the Port Moody Legion, and invited council.  The large room was packed with many people left standing.  Resident comments were almost all negative to the proposed development plan.

From late April to early May of this year, the city held open houses with display boards, and provided an online place for public input.  We heard from residents this consultation was inadequate.

As one resident put it, they came across as timeshare presentations with concept drawings and potential developers on hand to present and answer questions from the public.  Some even had slick brochures.

We suggested it could be construed as a conflict if the entire process is not undertaken in a neutral environment.

In a matter this important — a concept that could transform Port Moody into a city that would be virtually unrecognizable from what it is today — the process to-date has been flawed.

The original timeline for completion was last spring, an extremely tight timeframe for such an ambitious proposal.

After public backlash, the city held two town hall meetings in June, and then resumed council discussions in September.

Unfortunately, the September re-draft of the OCP did not reflect the community feedback.  Instead, it was back to “whack-a-mole” — with changes appearing to come out of the blue.  Because the discussions took place at council committee of the whole meetings, there was no opportunity for the public to comment.

Approximately 11 hours of council discussion — and no opportunity for in person public comment!

And here we are.

In today’s Now community paper, Mayor Clay says this town hall meeting is the start of council listening to residents.

Let’s hope it’s not ‘in one ear – out the other’!

This is not a brand new master planned community we’re talking about.  We are talking about areas with existing residents and existing character.

The process should not be rushed, and should be completely transparent and inclusive.

We are still hoping to have a say in this plan.

BECAUSE …. It is supposed to be a community plan.

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