Flavelle Oceanfront Development — open house, part two

Flavelle Oceanfront Development — open house, part two
See Flavelle invitation at post below.

2016-01-07-PoMo-Flavelle open house

Official notice from City of Port Moody:
“The City of Port Moody is holding a public open house to present results from the applicant’s public engagement, their vision for the property, and their preliminary land use plan. Both City staff and members of the applicant’s project team will be in attendance to answer questions. Please share your ideas and feedback with the City:
When: Thursday, January 7, 2016
Port Moody City Hall, 100 Newport Drive
Time: Drop in between 6–9pm ”

This site is a special study area (SSA), currently zoned industrial.

It’s not clear why the city is hosting this event, and not the applicant, Flavelle Oceanfront Development (“FOD”), a division of Mill & Timber. To-date, the public has not seen any proposals from the applicant.

During the Official Community Plan (OCP) process, all indications were that special study areas required extensive consultation with multiple stakeholders.

“Within all areas designated as RGS Industrial, non-industrial related uses are not permitted. In the case of the RGS Industrial designated lands on the Flavelle (Mill and Timber) site and the northern portion of the Andres Wines site, applications for redevelopment to other uses could be considered following detailed comprehensive development planning for these sites.” (Official Community Plan, page 121)

We hope the concepts presented on January 7th will be innovative and seen as very positive for our community.

Recent developments
In the spring of 2015, Flavelle Oceanfront Development (FOD) indicated plans to begin public consultation for the site, using several different methods, including hosting an open house on June 23, 2015 to gather feedback. In December 2015, FOD posted a 104-page Community Consultation Report to its website.

On June 15, 2015, the proponent (Mill & Timber/Flavelle) “organized and invited City of Port Moody staff and all city elected officials on a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Tour. The Tour was led by the Manager of Real Estate Planning for TransLink.” Attendees are described as “Mayor Mike Clay and [unidentified] city staff.”

The report also summarizes engagement with community groups, including the Moody Centre Community Association (MCCA).

“The Flavelle project team has started to engage in informal and formal discussions with local groups. To date, six community groups have been engaged. In each case a commitment to ongoing communications throughout the planning process was made.”

Comment from MCCA
On August 20, 2015, MCCA president Hazel Mason and secretary/director Rick Evon met for an informal coffee chat with Bruce Gibson (Mill & Timber/Flavelle) and Blaire Chisholm (Brook Pooni consultants).

The meeting of about 90 minutes was summarized by FOD in its report as follows:

“Main questions asked by MCCA include:

  • The timing of development;
  • Clarification on the ownership of the mill; and
  • The frequency of the air horn.”

MCCA comments on the above bullet points:
Timing: We were told the initial timing was overly ambitious and the process would take more time, there would be ample opportunity to provide feedback, and MCCA would be kept in the loop.
Ownership of the mill: Our question had more to do with ownership of the land and water. The site was originally a leased water lot, and over time was expanded with landfill. We were told the area is owned, not leased. (Details of when and how the leased water lot turned into an owned land lot are unclear.) We were also told that when the current owners purchased the site (a deal made December 31, 1999, announced in early 2000), the City of Port Moody indicated to the purchasers that a land use change was envisioned at some point in the future. [In November 1999, Joe Trasolini was elected as the new mayor of Port Moody. Before that, the Mayor was Rick Marusyk.]
Frequency of the air horn: This question was asked as our discussion on potential land use change at the mill site wrapped up. It was unrelated to the discussion on development. It was asked because there was an easy opportunity to ask, and MCCA has heard concerns from local residents who have indicated the noise seems to be more frequent and louder than in the past.

Additional discussion in the meeting included the landowner’s concern about high tax levels compared to other industrial properties, a possible open house in late October 2015 that would share feedback results, and that some of the concerns heard by FOD included geotechnical, environmental, and traffic issues. Some of our questions couldn’t be answered (e.g., promenade details) due to the fact that the planning was in early stages. Regarding salvaging some of the mill history, the poor condition of the buildings presented challenges.

We also asked about the artist’s site concept rendering first revealed in a city council agenda package in the spring of 2013. Mr. Gibson indicated that rendering was premature and no longer valid, and this new process was a fresh start. He also indicated that the same artist was contracted by the city to produce conceptual OCP renderings. The original rendering can be seen in this article: Still a sardine city despite OCP changes.

MCCA indicated that what we’ve heard from the community includes concerns with regard to traffic, density, landfill/unstable ground, environmental impacts including climate change, residents’ desire for additional parkland, and that local residents aren’t in favour of high-rise towers. We noted that responses to an MCCA survey could be reviewed on this site under Community Feedback.

The site
The mill was originally located on pilings on leased waterfront land. Since then, the site has been built up with landfill on what was once tidal flats (similar to Pacific Coast Terminals).

Photo-mill on pilings
Flavelle Cedar Mill, 1926, image above is from page 97 of FOD summary report, available at http://www.flavelleoceanfront.com.

The site area size is described by FOD as 34 acres, but is described on the city website (dated 2011) as 27 acres. See Flavelle Sawmill Company, Port Moody Industry Profile. The reason for the 7 acre discrepancy is not clear. Perhaps the extra acreage includes water, or additional landfill (or both).

The photo below is from the virtual museum (online), credited to Jim Millar, 2006.

2006-Photo-Jim Millar

The site is identified as at high risk of liquefaction in the event of a moderate to high intensity earthquake (City Hazardous Lands map; and Geomap), meaning any land use change must be reviewed carefully as to appropriateness, and geotechnical studies are required.

Mill and Timber (Flavelle) purchased the mill site for just over $4 million in January 2000. The previous owner, Interfor, purchased the site for much less ($213,220) in February 1995 from Weldwood. Current land value is assessed at just under $16M.
Flavelle mill site-details and sale history

Emerson Mill began in the early 1900s on Crown land offered for the purpose of operating a mill site.

The following links show historical survey maps.
1915-Flavelle map
1928-Flavelle map
1949-Flavelle map
1978-Flavelle map

Additional questions

  • Is the proposed land use change from a mill site to something else a net benefit for the residents of Port Moody?
  • If approved for rezoning and development, is the project fully financed by FOD? Is there a direct or indirect cost to Port Moody residents?
  • What is the City of Port Moody’s role in this process? Is the city neutral, or an active booster of the project?
  • Is there a geotechnical report available for review?
  • Has a study been done to measure ground contamination?
  • Has a study been done to determine how redevelopment might affect the surrounding water and marine habitat?
  • What are the plans for building in a way to accommodate climate change, and potential sea-level rise?
  • Are there projections (and solutions) for traffic impacts?
  • How does Metro Vancouver/GVRD’s denial of the city’s request to change the land designation from industrial to general urban affect this project?
  • What about port land, considered by Port Metro Vancouver to be in short supply?
  • How does this project address many other concerns identified in Moody Centre, such as green space in relation to densification?
  • What is perceived as a reasonable timeline for this project overall, and what are the stages within the overall timeline?
  • What is planned for additional community consultation?

Since nothing concrete has yet been presented, there are likely many more questions to come from residents and other stakeholders.

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3 Responses to Flavelle Oceanfront Development — open house, part two

  1. Pat says:

    Comprehensive geotechnical review should be available BEFORE public comments on concepts. What’s in that landfill? My house shook during the mild earthquake Dec. 29 and its not on landfill over mudflats.

  2. Diane Jolly says:

    Too much, too high! There will be a canyon effect along the Murray Street corridor, with noise from CP trains as well as the noise from CP’s diesel engines “cascading” on the tracks at the corner of Clarke and Grant Streets; noise from the West Coast Express & the EGRT traffic; and, noise from the additional automobile traffic will be echoing across Port Moody. In addition the exhaust output from CP trains & their diesel engines and automotive exhausts will hang in the air within the canyon environment. I suggest low rise light industrial, environmentally sound businesses would like to invest at that location. Low rise residences, Rocky Point park expanded, along with these type of businesses seem to me, to be more sound alternatives in keeping with Port Moody’s “small town” vibe.

    • David says:

      To Diane,
      The solution to a couple of the problems you note is to have the CPR line from Port Coquitlam to Vancouver electrified. Electric locomotives could move all the freight units from the PoCo yard to the various port facilities.

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