Say what? Publicly-owned lands for sale or lease; no public hearing scheduled
Update: In a vote of 5:2, council agreed to post a notice for “Expressions of Interest” “for the acquisition or lease and development of two City-owned parcels of land in Inlet Centre:
- The 1.77 acre (0.72 ha.) former site of Fire Hall No. 1. This site is currently vacant; and
- The 2.2 acre (0.89 ha.) site of the City’s current Works Yard. The City expects the Works Yard to be relocated and the site available for redevelopment within two years of sale or lease of the site.
Deadline for submissions is January 20, 2017.”
Earlier this year, starting in May, the city of Port Moody hosted “community fairs” on the topic of publicly-owned lands, with special attention to the former fire hall site (near the new one by city hall), the adjacent public works yard, Kyle Centre (Moody Centre), and the former land fill site off of Barnet Highway.
Online feedback surveys were viewed by many as flawed, and in fact at least one of them was changed after feedback started in order to address criticism of the format and limited choices offered.
Members of council were directed to avoid discussion with residents on this topic “to prevent unduly influencing the range and types of feedback offered by the public” (see community consultation link below).
Since then, on this very important issue, there has been no public council discussion on these lands, no town hall, no public hearing.
Note: Council’s October 25, 2016 meeting included an item 12.3 called “Release of items from Closed Council” (pages 357-530). The released item was the city consultant’s report on the city’s public lands consultation — “City Land Strategies.” There was no discussion on this topic at the Oct. 25 meeting. Material can be accessed here.
Now — on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 (agenda link here) — council will be asked to approve solicitation of expressions of interest for redevelopment of city-owned lands.
Item 5.1: Expression of Interest — Redevelopment of Former Fire Hall and Current Works Yard Sites
From page 18:
“Council Strategic Plan Objectives
As noted above, the redevelopment of the former Fire Hall and the current Works Yard sites were identified in Council’s 2015-2018 Strategic Plan as action items under the strategic priority of Community Planning.”
The above statement is incorrect and not what the Strategic Plan said. See below.
Council’s Strategic Plan 2015-2018
Excerpt, page 6:
How did we get from “options” to “redevelopment”?
Back to the December 6, 2016 agenda, starting at page 53, a draft document begins as follows:
Purchase or Lease and Development of the Former Fire Hall
Site and Current Works Yard Site in Inlet Centre
Date of Issue: December 7, 2016
“The City of Port Moody is seeking Expressions of Interest for the acquisition or lease and development of two City-owned parcels of land in Inlet Centre: …”
The consultants’ report has never been discussed publicly at council with an opportunity for public comment. The report appears to conform to what the consultants perceive to be the wish of the client (Port Moody) — redevelopment of city lands. The report does not include verbatim comments, instead it has glossy summary charts.
Let’s review …
The prospect of selling or leasing public land is now before a council committee of the whole (just before Christmas and holiday festivities). The process skipped presentation of the report to the public in a transparent way.
Increase population, and sell more prime — and rapidly dwindling — public real estate, without full public debate?
What is Port Moody’s future? And who determines it?
—Public lands consultation — former fire hall, works yard, Kyle Centre, Barnet landfill
—Community consultation — city-owned lands and neighbourhoods
—Port Moody 2012 Annual Report: Land sales (finite revenues) not sustainable asset funding strategies
When Mayor Clay first ran for the position of mayor in 2011, here is a bit of what he said in a flyer:
“My vision is ENHANCING what we have today, not wholesale change. We have a great foundation to build on—not one that needs to be torn down. […] opening up communications via town hall meetings”