Aragon proposal back to the drawing board (and the importance of public input)

Aragon proposal back to the drawing board (and the importance of public input)

people

The public hearing held on April 26, 2016 was well-attended.

The Aragon proposal was defeated at council, with Mayor Clay and Councillor Dilworth voting in favour (2:5).

The proposal was defeated at its first Land Use Committee appearance in November 2015, but after a second Land Use Committee meeting this year was approved by a majority to move forward to public hearing because mayor and council said they wanted more public input.

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Comment from Mayor Clay at council meeting April 26, 2016:

Mayor Clay

“… [OCP] wasn’t controversial in this neighbourhood. It went through without a peep. People agreed. People in Moody Centre agreed. The Moody Centre Community Association people agreed that this area right on top of the Skytrain station needed revitalization, it needed density, … live, work, play, shop … What a great idea, way to go council. But no, sorry, we can’t handle it.”

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Mayor Clay’s statement above is confounding, and disingenuous.
See below for more.

Comment from Moody Centre Community Association (MCCA) president Hazel Mason:

The reporting on the public hearing, while interesting, is simplistic. The subject is more complex, and involves a lot of history.

  • It’s not just about storeys.
  • Yes, the OCP map (Official Community Plan) shows “up to 6 storeys.”
  • BUT the OCP does not define storey height. (In theory, a storey could be any height.)
  • The OCP does not define floor area ratio (aka floor space ratio; FAR or FSR).
  • The OCP does not define base density.
  • The OCP does not define green space per capita.
  • The OCP does not define many critical items.
  • The zoning bylaw contains more definitions, but is badly in need of updating (in progress).
  • The proposal did not conform to the zoning bylaw.
  • The OCP was in fact very controversial.  MCCA has reported extensively on the process.

Mayor Clay’s comment at Tuesday’s council meeting suggesting that the Moody Centre Community Association supported the OCP is mystifying.

The Moody Centre Community Association (MCCA) never endorsed the OCP. While there are positives within the document, the complete package was viewed by many as flawed (including weak and inconsistent language). Town hall meetings were packed, at times with people standing at the back of the room and in the aisles, or simply watching the webcast from elsewhere.

MCCA urged council to consult more with the people affected – including Moody Centre residents – prior to a final draft and adoption.

While there were certainly different points of view expressed at the town halls and other participatory forums, the very clear message from residents to MCCA was overwhelming preference for sensitive and human scale infill in Moody Centre, and growth that would respect existing neighbourhoods. Also important was the need to have parks and green space increased along with additional population. Many concerns were expressed — traffic, parking, protection of community amenities, to name just a few.  This was communicated to council on numerous occasions.

Residents realize Moody Centre will see changes as time goes on. It’s a question of degree and pace, and ensuring infrastructure and amenities (among other things) are part of the planning.

MCCA hosted its own “town hall” in January 2013, and invited council and all residents of the Moody Centre area. Attendance was very good; in fact, many people had to stand. We invited people to respond to a survey (see Community Feedback drop-down menu on this site). We’ve been asking for a city-led neighbourhood consultation for years now. In May 2015, council agreed that a top priority was to “develop a comprehensive and sustainable neighbourhood plan for Moody Centre, including potential amendments to the OCP.”

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I’ve personally attended every OCP meeting/event I could (almost all), including the June 2012 charette. I’ve also attended numerous related meetings.

I’ve taken copious notes, and reported on the process.

Along the way, there has been organized push-back by a few individuals and loosely-formed groups, some seeking to intimidate and discredit our association, including words at council, social media, and an attempted hack on our website.

In spring/summer 2012, I personally advocated video-recording for council meetings to encourage better communications and transparency. While there was some initial resistance, the idea was eventually embraced (at least for most chamber meetings), and recordings have now been available since September 11, 2012.  Archived video is available here.

I’ve also advocated for improvements to written records, including identifying written public feedback on meeting minutes.

Our association encourages feedback – both to us, and to the city. We encourage residents to participate in planning and decision-making.

Community participation is vital for the well-being of our city.

Related:
Port Moody turns down proposal after neighbours cry foul over lost views; Tri-City News; April 28 (online), April 29 (paper edition)
Public Hearings (2) — April 26, 2016 (most recent post on Aragon proposal)
Promises and Accountability
OCP Public Hearing — Excerpts, April 22, 2014

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2 Responses to Aragon proposal back to the drawing board (and the importance of public input)

  1. John & George says:

    It is probably accurate that mayor Clay never heard “a peep” of disagreement on the OCP. Dude’s got some kind of blockage.

  2. Pat says:

    Too many expert know-it-alls living elsewhere who say NIMBY cuz its easy. Lazy cop-out. Do your homework. Our mayor sold out and bailed to the hills. Probably with a nice tidy profit.

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