Moody Centre TOD mystery: What’s the plan?

Moody Centre TOD mystery: What’s the plan?

Follow-up to Balanced community: “More than a Bedroom Community! Building a Tech & Innovation Hub” — Updated (July 2019) and council meetings July 16 and July 23, 2019.

See questions below, near end.

Below, left, Colliers Canada property sale marketing, conceptual rendering, portion of area in question.

Long designated a commercial/industrial area, what will this Moody Centre TOD area become? (TOD is short-form for transit-oriented development.)

In 5 short years (2012-2017), Official Community Plan (OCP) visions have gone from up to 4-storey buildings to 26 (though it’s possible we’ll see asks for up to 40 storeys; see scenarios below). We don’t know because we have just been made aware that landowners/developers (the “consortium”) have been working with city staff for at least 18 months, and probably longer, under the radar — not a speck of public engagement or communication.

While the public was told on July 16, 2019 that the consortium and city staff have been working on plans behind the scenes, the last public engagement was at a contentious OCP amendment hearing on November 28, 2017.

On July 16th, Acting Mayor Hunter Madsen presented a report and recommendations to press for a primary focus on employment-oriented development — a concept discussed for many years but which appears to have become of secondary importance. The Madsen report was deferred until council could meet at a workshop planned for August 6, 2019 to further review material city planners and the consortium had worked on. From comment July 16th, it appears most councillors have had at least a recent “glimpse” of the mysterious proposal. Councillor Royer commented that highrise residential has better profit margins than buildings for other types of use.

One week later on July 23, 2019, before the upcoming workshop, the Madsen report was brought back for reconsideration and was defeated (councillors Dilworth, Lahti, Royer).

‘Urgent’ Port Moody plan that was deferred is now defeated, Tri-City News, July 24, 2019

Several members of the consortium were at the July 16th meeting to advocate for their interests and were concerned about the Madsen report. Some of those people are marketing their properties for sale (see Colliers Canada link and image above); some have purchased land more recently, including the Beedie Group who reportedly purchased from the Kwikletlem First Nations in a one day flip according to the Vancouver Sun, June 14, 2019, Sold on your behalf: 164 B.C. schools and hospitals, agricultural and industrial lots worth $1 billion.

About 20 acres
Note, the city-produced images below are to demonstrate a sense of options and density. They do not show the Evergreen Skytrain line on the property, and don’t adhere to OCP policy in terms of set-backs, “stepping down” and more.

Density comparison

At the November 27, 2017 public hearing to amend the criteria for this area, landowners/developers were out in full force to advocate for the highest density possible, such as Scenario C.

Council settled on Scenario A, but these “visions” are frequently changed. For example, the Marcon George project on St George Street, a couple of blocks south of the “Moody Centre TOD” area, asked for 6-storey condo buildings in place of the 3-storey limit in the OCP. Their request was granted, and the build currently in progress replaces 22 single-family lots with 252 new townhouse and condo units. And, of course, there have been many other amendments to the OCP which allow for higher density. (Side-note: projects in progress may not have contributed to community amenities (CACs or DCCs, Development Cost Charges) to the extent that will be required in future, resulting in subsidization from general taxation.)


Partial additional reference:

Questions

  • How long has the consortium been meeting with city planning staff?
  • How long has the consortium been meeting with any members of council (current or former)?
  • How much time has been spent developing a draft proposal?
  • What has been the dollar cost ($) to the city to this point; e.g., staff time, materials?
  • On what authority did this behind closed doors planning proceed?
  • If council gave direction to staff to work on an area proposal as referred to in July 2019 council meetings, when did this happen? Specifics?
  • Why has there been no involvement or presentation to the Community Planning Advisory Committee (CPAC)?
  • Why has there been no public engagement?
  • When will the draft plans be made available to the public?
  • Has the city given thought to the uncertainty and likely displacement of business tenants?
  • What power does the general public have, if any?
  • What is the plan?

Comparison

  • Cambie corridor, south Vancouver, 25 acres of public land sold to Onni, 2015/2016, “21 multi-storey buildings, including homes for 4,500 people — the equivalent of nearly every resident of Osoyoos moving onto this 25-acre site.” Source: Vancouver Sun, The story behind the government’s largest sale of ‘surplus’ land: Did taxpayers get a good deal?
  • The Cambie corridor noted above is about 5 acres greater in size than Moody Centre TOD, with a projected population of just under that in “Scenario C” in chart above. The Cambie corridor concept is considered very dense, and is in an area with more routes in and out than Moody Centre.
  • Moody Centre TOD area includes the Skytrain station and parking.

Additional reference

 

 

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

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