Measure twice, cut once: Public lands debate heading to referendum, ERH, in the news

Measure twice, cut once: Public lands debate heading to referendum, ERH, in the news

Public hearing on OCP and zoning amendments to facilitate sale of public lands (Inlet Centre) ends with agreement for a REFERENDUM
Update on recent post: Buckle your seatbelts — Public lands PH, council, CPAC update, in the news

People had a lot to say at the public lands hearing on April 10th. There were about 30 speakers and a large number of written submissions. The agenda, video, and “on-table” written input can all be accessed from 2018 Agendas & Minutes. The minutes are not yet available, and will not include a summary of written feedback. (The regular council agenda and video can be accessed from the same link, and includes council discussion on the public hearing.)

Referendum will be held
Following the public hearing, during discussion at the regular council meeting, the end result was an agreement to hold a referendum in conjunction with the fall municipal election (October 20, 2018).

The wording of the referendum remains to be seen, but a majority of council voted to continue with a “Request for Proposals” (RFP) to get more information to the public on what the sale of these lands might mean in terms of dollars and amenities for the public/city. The idea of issuing an RFP was/is controversial, including whether it is intended to further promote the case for the sale of public lands or merely for additional information, legal implications, costs versus benefits, and why a public hearing was required if an RFP can be done without going to the public first. There are likely many more questions and details to be ironed out.

Public Hearing
Of the 30 or so speakers, five voiced clear support for the amendments suggesting it was in the city’s and residents’ best interests monetarily and otherwise (potential amenities) to proceed with the amendments and a request for proposals from private developers as outlined in the city material.

Those opposed to the amendments articulated their reasons with various related ideas and nuances. Many people felt there was no justification to selling public land, especially in a prime location, or at the very least more discussion is required, and there were many urging this matter be put to a referendum.

Three of the speakers opposed were recent by-election candidates (September 2017): Jeanette Jackson, Gerry Kent, and Richard Biedka (the only recent candidates to speak at this hearing).

There were a couple of individuals who brought up Moody Centre in connection to the debate, raising the idea of a discussion on centralized or decentralized public facilities. One of these speakers (from Moody Centre) reminded the audience that not too long ago Moody Centre had a library and youth centre (see photos below), and that former public land in Moody Centre is now condos.

The Moody Centre Community Association website included a few information posts on civic facilities and costs in the fall of 2015, and in recent days this information has been viewed quite a bit. The most viewed is Civic facility repairs — What about Kyle Centre?

Whether or not public land and facilities should be centralized or spread around, the comments and questions from residents suggest people feel the subject of public lands is extremely important and deserves a full discussion, and decisions must be weighed very carefully, with clear public support for significant changes.
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A small slice of Moody Centre history
In the mid-90s, the Barnet Highway/St. Johns was widened (completed 1996).

About the same time just over 20 years ago, Port Moody City Hall moved to Inlet Centre, and the original city hall became the Port Moody Arts Centre, still public land. The Arts Centre has undergone significant upgrades, but Kyle Community Centre located to the south on the same land parcel has had minimal maintenance, with a tarp on the roof for a few years.

Not far away (Moody/St. Johns intersection), the City of Port Moody held property that included the “Community House” (former 1967 Centennial Library) with the Alley youth centre at the rear facing Spring Street, and an arts-focussed leased building (former public safety building). This property was sold in the early 2000s (exact date unknown), and is now the location of Aragon’s the Station condo building. (Note to Station residents, we welcome you; this information is intended as additional background on public land and Moody Centre.)

 

Many people feel a combination of changes in Moody Centre (and some neglect) have had a negative impact on the area.
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In early 2008, another heated discussion took place with regard to the community gardens along the Shoreline Park area, east side of Rocky Point Park (3002 Murray St). It was a complicated issue (expropriation of private land for the now abandoned Murray-Clarke connector, and legal issues over control of the land), and all signals were that the land could be privatized once again. City hall was packed with people imploring the city to formally incorporate these lands into the park, and in 2013 this parcel became official city parkland.

Image below from 2008 flyer

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Update: Eagle Ridge Hospital Development Proposal
Fraser Health held an open house at the City Hall Galleria on March 7, 2018 to present a proposal to sell two parcels on Eagle Ridge Hospital land for non-health related high-density development, and revealed it had submitted an application in June 2017 to the city for OCP amendments. The staff at the open house indicated they hoped to get this proposal to the Community Planning Advisory Committee (CPAC) as soon as possible.

This provoked a mostly negative public reaction from the community. Below, in the news links, are two separate Tri-City News articles with two different points of view; and notably, one is from the Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation (opposed), and the other quotes the executive director of Eagle Ridge Hospital as saying “Selling land at Eagle Ridge Hospital won’t harm future plans for the health care facility and is critical to pay for much-needed expansion” (in favour).

In the news, a sampling:

The Moody Centre Community Association (MCCA) welcomes your comments.

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