Civic election: Metro residents up in arms over high-density developments
Lack of public consultation a key issue in many municipalities
By Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver Sun October 10, 2014 6:15 PM
Excerpted (see link above for full article):
In Port Moody, residents are balking at a the city’s proposed new Official Community Plan — the blueprint that guides long-term growth in local cities — saying it will transform their small community and create more traffic, pollution and parking headaches and affect park space.
Hazel Mason, president of the Moody Centre Residents’ Association [should say Moody Centre Community Association], says her group isn’t opposed to growth, but would prefer more “human-scale” development, such as laneway housing or basement suites, along the Evergreen SkyTrain line to complement Port Moody’s existing character.
“This is happening everywhere,” she said. “I’m sure everyone is most concerned about their own neighbourhoods but this is really, really, extreme, what they’re proposing here. We’re not anti-growth. We just want smart growth, human-scale growth in Moody Centre and to be at the table.”
The situation has prompted former Port Moody city manager Gaetan Royer to challenge incumbent Mike Clay for the mayor’s chair, on the basis the proposed OCP should be rethought.
Mary De Paoli, Port Moody’s manager of planning, said there’s always resistance when a city proposes change — and she’s not surprised to see an uprising over the OCP’s plans to transform the older, single-family neighbourhood of Moody Centre.
The city faced a similar upset around development in Newport Village, she added, but just like Moody Centre the area needed an overhaul ahead of the Evergreen Line coming through.
“It’s just recognizing that’s where growth should logically happen in relation to investments in rapid transit and making sure it’s sensitive to residents … that it becomes a net benefit rather than being seen as a negative,” De Paoli said, adding she expects residents will accept the growth over time. “Newport met some resistance and now everybody loves it.”