Updated: Parks and Recreation Master Plan — a few quotes and observations

This post has been updated to include feedback submitted to the city (as requested) by June 26, 2014.  Comments were sent by email, and included the online questions posted on the city website, as well as quotes and observations posted here earlier.
Email to city, June 26, 2014

Thanks for hosting the open house on June 12, 2014, and for your time.

Thanks also for the work you and other staff and consultants have put into creating the draft Master Parks and Recreation Plan, and within a fairly tight timeframe.

The draft contains some very good information.

It also raises alarm bells regarding deficiencies in current park space currently and projected into the future with the expected population growth as outlined in the draft OCP. This applies as well to facilities and recreation services and programs.

This feedback doesn’t address all of the information contained in the draft report, but highlights some major concerns for residents, and focuses primarily on Moody Centre.

Regarding the city feedback questions online:

1. What do you like about the draft Parks and Recreation Master Plan? 

Appreciate the time and effort put into this draft in a tight timeframe. Contains some very helpful information. See below for more.

2. Is there anything you would like to see changed in the draft Parks and Recreation Master Plan?

See #3, and below for more.

3. Is there anything you would like to see added to the draft Parks and Recreation Master Plan?

A table listing all of the parks in the city by name, type of park, location/neighbourhood, size (acres/hectares), and if possible current usage (numbers, and who uses — such as local residents, visitors, etc.), or at least estimates.

A breakdown on neighbourhoods and population, current and projected.

Parks: More discussion on costs, ways to pay for parks (and who pays), how to boost park space per capita, especially in under-served areas.

Recreation: More discussion on costs for recreation programs and services that might be required for the current and expanding population — cost estimates and where the money might come from.

A policy on how to achieve desired standards of park space and recreation services. What are the minimum levels of space and services?

How much money is raised by development cost charges and density bonusing? How much is in the bank now? How much money has been put into the Heritage Reserve Fund since its inception, how has it been used, and how much is currently available?

4. What do you think should be the top priorities for implementation?

Assessing minimum needs (and higher than minimum levels), and how to pay for it. Ensuring minimum needs can be met before city approval of re-zoning and additional population. Planning for the long-term.

What are your primary interests related to this project?
Checkboxes for:

  • Sports
  • Trails and Biking
  • Environment
  • Recreation Centre Drop-in
  • Recreation Programs
  • Other (indicate)

Writing on behalf of a community association, the best answer is all of the above. We have heard the most about park space (not enough) and that Kyle Centre is valued by the community but often cannot meet all of the demands asked of it, in space and time available. We have heard about the need to accommodate all age groups, as there are different needs. We have heard very strongly that Kyle Centre and its lands should remain public lands (e.g., no residential on that space, preserve green space).

Again, thank you very much for your hard work. We appreciate your efforts to reach out and engage the community.  Please see below for additional observations.

The draft Parks and Recreation Plan is a very important part of the draft OCP.

The information below is just a fraction of the information available (and is focused primarily on Moody Centre), so it’s worthwhile to review the city documents if you can. The draft plan is currently 87 pages of text and tables, and will be longer when completed. It includes discussion on parks and recreation services. Additional information, including maps, can be found by looking at the open-house presentation boards. See http://www.portmoody.ca/index.aspx?page=1043. Feedback to the city is requested by June 26, 2014.

Existing and proposed parks (Moody Centre; see city material for wider scope)
Parks-MC-proposed and existing

Parks-proposed and existing-legend

Items below in quotes are from the draft plan. Emphasis added for this summary.

“There is limited land available for new parks or facilities and greater strain on existing offerings. With an existing population density already well-above the regional average (1,274 people per km2 in Port Moody vs. 803 people per km2 in Metro Vancouver), Port Moody is facing increasing pressure to use its land effectively and efficiently.” (from section 1.1)

Since 2001, Port Moody has grown at a rate of more than double that of Metro Vancouver as a whole, but park land has not increased accordingly.

Figure 3.1: Population Growth % Change – Port Moody and Metro Vancouver, 1991 — 2011. Source: City of Port Moody, BC Stats
PM and Metro growth rates-bar chart

“Over the past 20 years, the City of Port Moody has experienced significant population growth – from 18,216 people in 1991 to an estimated 34,509 people in 2011. Between 2001 and 2011, the City’s population grew by 36.3%, making it one of the fastest growing municipalities in the Metro Vancouver region during this period.” (from section 3.1)

Based on the numbers above, Port Moody is currently on average 50% more dense than the greater Vancouver area. The draft OCP projects much greater growth for Port Moody, especially in the Moody Centre neighbourhood. The plan does not set out how this growth can be accommodated with existing parks and recreation facilities.

“According to the Official Community Plan (OCP), the majority of the projected growth, over 70%, will be concentrated in the City’s core, particularly within Moody Centre and to a lesser degree in Inlet Centre. Per current City planning studies, it appears that almost all of the growth will be located in these centres.”

Footnote: “While the City anticipates a city-wide population increase of 15,500 over the next 20 to 30 years, this core area alone could potentially accommodate a much greater number of new residents. Based on proposed changes in the OCP, the City anticipates that at full build-out this area could accommodate up to an additional 24,500 residents.”

“The decline in single detached homes means that the amount of private recreational space available to households is also decreasing.” Thus, there will be even more demand on parks from additional households in multi-family complexes that do not have personal green space; e.g., front or backyards.

Types of Parks (page 27)

  • City Parks — City Parks draw visitors from the entire City and beyond.
  • Community Parks — typically 4 to 8 hectares (10 to 20 acres), though some are smaller in the City.
  • Neighbourhood Parks — typically 1 to 2 hectares (3 to 5 acres), though some are smaller.
  • Natural Areas – these parks are undeveloped by virtue of natural features such as watercourses, ravines, steep slopes, unstable soil conditions, or unique characteristics.

Figure 4.2: Population-Based Parkland Supply in Port Moody
Park supply-Figure 4.2


“Moody Centre has no Community Parks and very small, substandard Neighbourhood Parks.” (page 32)

Current park space in Moody Centre (not counting undeveloped green, e.g., Chines hillside)
A table showing parks, locations, and size is not included in the draft plan — but should be. Information below is from the city website at: http://www.portmoody.ca/index.aspx?page=165 (Parks listings)

Rocky Point Park: listed as 3.8 hectares (9 acres)

Chip Kerr Park: listed as 0.3 hectares (less than 1 acre)

Kyle Park: listed as 3.2 hectares (7 acres) — this seems strange; perhaps part of the Chines is being counted? The park appears to be about the same size as Chip Kerr Park.

Total of above = about 16 acres, or just over 7 hectares

Based on these figures, current parkland available in Moody Centre per 1,000 residents is estimated at 1.5 hectares (3 acres) — well below the 2.4 hectares shown in Figure 4.2 (one-third less than the city average).  However, given the lack of hard numbers, such as Moody Centre current population, all of these figures are estimates.  More specific numbers and breakdowns in the draft plan would be very helpful.

It must be noted that Rocky Point Park draws visitors from across the city and beyond Port Moody’s borders, and is already recognized as being at- or-over capacity, especially in the summer and for special events.

Port Moody’s draft OCP envisions most of the population growth in Moody Centre, but does not outline how the area will expand park space necessary to accommodate the growth.

The draft Parks and Recreation Master Plan discusses some of the challenges, and has many recommendations including:

“Develop new parks acquired in Moody Centre and elsewhere, through DCCs where possible.” (page 36)

Development Cost Charges (DCCs) are charges to developers; so if there is more development, can DCCs possibly be enough to meet the needs for parks and recreation services for the existing and additional population that would come with the development?  It seems to be paradoxical and unworkable for the situation here in Port Moody, and Moody Centre.

What about the Heritage Reserve Fund, set up many years ago to accumulate money from land sales to be put toward parkland acquisition (modified in 2008 to broaden its scope)?  How much is in the fund, how has it grown over the last 10 years, and how much has been used to acquire parkland?

The Kyle Centre is in a central location where future higher density development is planned. If renewed and expanded, it could meet the needs of the growing seniors’ population while at the same time providing additional program space for young children and families. Functional office space would also be a benefit.” (page 52)

Kyle Centre has difficulty now in meeting demand for programs and space. With population growth, the challenges will be greater. The draft OCP contemplates the addition of some residential units on the city-owned property, which complicates the problem — more people, less space.  MCCA has heard very negative opinions on the idea of changing the current P1 zoning.

Moody Elementary school is now slated for closure by the school district. Could it become additional parkland? Or will it be sold for development?

Where and how could sufficient additional parkland and recreation facilities and services be achieved?  Is it possible?

We feel more hard numbers are very necessary before the plan is final.  That also applies to the OCP as these documents go together.

Please give your feedback!

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