Summary of Port Moody town hall November 27, 2013

Dear residents,

Following is a summary of the City of Port Moody’s November 27, 2013 OCP town hall meeting.

For complete coverage, the meeting can be viewed online at:

http://portmoodybc.swagit.com/play/11272013-547 (2 hours, 42 minutes).  Public input starts 22 minutes into the video.

Hundreds of people attended. One estimate was 350 — largest turnout ever.  The Inlet Theatre has a capacity of up to 208 and the venue was not large enough.  A large crowd stood at the back and out the doors.  People sat in the aisles.  People came from across the city.  Eventually, the city opened two additional rooms to set up video links.  Some people left saying they would watch on their computers.

The Tri-City Green Council attended for Port Moody’s first ever ‘green scarf event’ — promoting good planning based on the combined pillars of economic, social, and environmental values.  Before the session began, they greeted people and handed out green scarves.

Rules were posted on the large screen inside the theatre.  It would have been helpful if the rules were communicated in advance.  Rules included two minute time limits, and this left many people scrambling to re-work prepared notes.  Several people had the mic turned off mid sentence.

There were about 60 speakers.  The meeting went until after 9:30 pm.

About one-quarter of the speakers represented the Coronation Park neighbourhood.  Most speakers wanted the multi-family designation reinstated.  One person said he’d like to get the money and leave.  A land assembly company, London Pacific, has approached Coronation Park and encouraged them to lobby for multi-family with promises of financial gain.  This strategy clearly got people out for the town hall.  Not all Coronation Park residents, however, support changing to multi-family.  They want to continue to live in Coronation Park with their families.

Coronation Park is not the only area in Port Moody being approached by land assembly companies and developers.

Moving along, of those speakers not identifying themselves as Coronation Park, a clear majority — actually more than 2:1 — spoke about their very strong concerns with the proposed OCP.

Concerns include:

  • the natural environment, mountains, water, forests
  • meeting our targets for clean air, etc.
  • losing small town charm and sense of community; that’s why people moved here
  • city not listening or reacting to concerns expressed previously, and the process
  • development map keeps changing; the feeling that this process resembles the “whack-a-mole” carnival game
  • lack of clarity in plan, especially with respect to projected numbers — and the need to include floor-space ratios (FSR), number of units per acre that would be allowed, lot site coverage, setbacks, etc.
  • lack of clear policies with respect to growth, jobs
  • keep the port in Port Moody
  • growth too much, too fast, new growth should be on a ‘human scale’
  • whether fast growth is of benefit financially to the city and residents
  • developer’s dream, not vision of the residents
  • artistic renderings of development are never the reality
  • mix of housing important — including retaining a good ratio of single family homes
  • Port Moody has already had the growth to support Skytrain, no requirement to expand rapidly
  • lack of a balance with jobs and residential
  • traffic, parking, schools, library, medical facilities, accommodation for people with handicaps, and other infrastructure requirements not addressed in plan
  • may need a referendum or election to settle the issue of proposed OCP

Of all concerns, perhaps the greatest was the proposed development of area E, otherwise known as the Oceanfront District, currently the Flavelle sawmill site next to Rocky Point Park.  If the sawmill site were to close, people want to see an extension of Rocky Point Park, and many expressed support for complementary uses such as a marine research centre, educational uses, and more tourism.  Another concern expressed is the location, including access and that the site is built on landfill which could be unstable in the event of a natural disaster such as an earthquake.

Of those expressing approval of the proposed OCP (about 12 people out of 60), most cited the proposed Westport area in western Moody Centre as their reason for approval of the plan.  They like the idea of more amenities, and arts and cultural opportunities, increased employment in the area, and more people to support businesses in the area.

Less than a handful of people had comments that were hard to interpret as clear approval or disapproval, since they had both negative and positive comments — but not a clear overall like or dislike for the proposed plan.

At the end of the evening, councillors and the mayor gave brief comments, including that they respect all the people coming out for the town hall and they are listening, we all want a city we can be proud of, and we have to get it right for all members of the community.

Mayor Clay, in final remarks, noted this is difficult for council … need to workshop some of the ideas.  The Mill and Timber (aka Flavelle) proposal is one from a developer.  OCP states clearly this is a special study area which means land under review needing further public consultation.  … if you read the text of the OCP you get the gist of what council envisions for arts centres, shopping centres, and listening to Helen Daniels there’s no business for her store because nobody lives there.  I’m one of the 800 people who lives in Moody Centre, and 400 of them are probably over 70 years old. … can’t support it the way we are.  [Ed note:  If Moody Centre’s population was 800 people, then the proposed additional density is not a 3 to 4 hundred percent increase, it would be more like 16-17 hundred percent.]  Community comes together to support each other.  … I know some of you are here because you got a flyer from a private group … but a lot of you are here because Dave’s been doing a great job of getting council’s mandate out to the people.  Not just Dave — there’s a team involved.

This meeting will be reported back for council on December 10, and we’ll make plans for next steps.  Don’t know what our next step is.  We’ll debate and make plans for the next steps.
*********************
The Moody Centre Community Association encourages you to let council know how you feel, and to attend the December 10th meeting if possible.  If you want a written submission included in the agenda package, send it within the next couple of days.  However, you can always send comments at any time for later agendas.

Council – council@portmoody.ca
Planning – planning@portmoody.ca
OCP  –  ocp@portmoody.ca

For more information, see:
http://www.portmoody.ca/index.aspx?page=704

You can also send your comments to mcca.pm@gmail.com.

Check out the Moody Centre Community Association’s new blog/website.  It will be updated regularly as time allows.  You can post comments, including your speaking notes from the town hall, a post I have already started.  

Check it out at:  https://portmoodycommunity.wordpress.com/

Also included on the site are links to Port Moody news articles and other social media.  Besides the main page, there are pages with drop-downs to access more news and information.

As always, we welcome your comments and input to MCCA.

Please feel free to forward this email.  Talk to your neighbours and friends.

Regards,
Hazel Mason, President
Moody Centre Community Association (MCCA)
Respond:  mcca.pm@gmail.com
https://portmoodycommunity.wordpress.com/

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