Port Moody city council OK’s controversial OCP
Jeremy Deutsch / Tri-Cities Now
October 16, 2014 03:48 PM
With time winding down for the current Port Moody city council, politicians took one more kick at the can when it comes to the municipality’s official community plan.
On Tuesday, council held its fourth and final vote on the 250-plus page document, approving the plan — but not without some dissent.
Couns. Rick Glumac and Zoe Royer voted against the OCP, calling for the plan to be deferred.
Royer suggested it should be brought back for the next council to make a decision.
She also argued the plan puts the city at risk of a legal battle with Metro Vancouver, noting the regional district doesn’t support it.
“Together, Metro Vancouver municipalities agreed to a regional growth strategy and with that agreement came some expectations and that was to ensure our regional context-statement was consistent with the growth strategy,” Royer said.
“And whether you really want the OCP and you see some great things [in it] … there are also some things that do not work.”
Glumac also suggested the OCP conflicts with the regional growth strategy and could be subject to a legal challenge.
He argued the document has no limits on density and in key areas no limits in building heights, giving developers an opportunity to come forward with proposals that are out of character with the community.
“This OCP will not preserve the small-town feel of Port Moody,” Glumac said.
But other councillors disagreed.
Coun. Diana Dilworth said she doesn’t agree with every decision that went into the plan but argued the document provides broad guidance and direction based on input from council and residents.
“I believe it provides flexibility that will allow future councils and future residents of the day to amend or change direction based on unanticipated circumstances,” she said.
Mayor Mike Clay said the city needs to move on to other programs, suggesting the municipality has a monster home issue because the bylaws can’t be updated until they match the OCP.
“We know there’s always going to be people who aren’t in favour of the OCP,” he said, adding there are others who like the plan.
Clay also said the city has no obligation to meet Metro Vancouver population targets, and instead believes the regional district, by putting in targets, just wants to know communities are planning as a region.
Outside of council chambers, mayoral candidate Gaetan Royer said he opposes the current OCP and would re-open the document if elected.
“It is a flawed plan. It is a plan that does not protect the interests of the residents,” he told the Tri-Cities NOW.
Royer said he envisions a plan that includes low-rise business development around the SkyTrain station in Moody Centre, suggesting that would create space for high-paying jobs and alleviate the burden of a bulging population and the need to create recreation programs.
The document, which guides land use, servicing and the form and character of new development, identifies seven distinct Evergreen sub areas, mostly within the City Centre area.
Port Moody mayoral candidates square off on OCP
by Sarah Payne – The Tri-City News
posted Oct 16, 2014 at 6:00 PM
No longer a draft, Port Moody’s official community plan is finally, well, official.
And while Mayor Mike Clay now aims to tackle other city business, his challenger in the mayoral race, Gaetan Royer, is planning for a different future.
“It’s great to have it done. It’s been eight years. I’ve been working on this since I got on council,” Clay told The Tri-City News after Tuesday’s council meeting, referring to the city-wide OCP update initiated in 2006.
With the Evergreen Line under construction a few years later, council kicked off the latest update process with a public input session in the spring of 2012.
Since then, there have been design charrettes, public consultation sessions, online surveys and feedback, town hall meetings, committee reviews, a public hearing and council meeting discussions. Still, Clay acknowledged there will be people who don’t support the plan.
Even so, he said, many more are on board with the OCP. Residents and property owners anticipating the Evergreen Line want to know how the city plans to move forward, Clay added, and without a plan. The city will end up with a “hodgepodge of random applications.” That plan provides the city with a vision for its potential growth over the next 30 years.
But Royer, a former PoMo city administrator, said as it stands, the OCP does not contain the kind of limits on development that are needed to protect residents.
“They would tell the residents, the taxpayers, what it is they’re getting right now but that document doesn’t tell them anything,” he said.
Royer suggested the OCP should have addressed concerns about building heights and density in some areas.
“Developers are going to come in and propose what they figure is best for Port Moody, as opposed to Port Moody deciding that a certain amount of density would be what’s best for the residents,” he said.
Clay had a different take, noting that sites designated as special study areas, particularly the Mill and Timber (the mill next to Rocky Point Park) and Andrés Wine sites, do not have specified heights or densities so that “there’s no obligation on anybody or no inference of an obligation to meet those numbers,” offering the city greater flexibility.
Responding to concerns that the OCP would bring a sudden influx of unprecedented growth, Clay said the plan anticipates a growth rate of 1.4% per year over its 30-year lifespan — the lowest in 25 years.
But Royer said the expected population increase, from the current 35,000 to nearly 50,000, will bring with it issues that he doesn’t feel are addressed in the OCP.
“The recreation centre is at capacity, the library… needs to be renovated and expanded, so this OCP is going to make things worse,” Royer told The Tri-City News. “Our roads can’t handle more traffic. This is the wrong form of development.”
He suggested the OCP should be more employment-focused to widen the tax base.
“These plans evolve and they change with time,” Clay said. “Ours hasn’t been updated really since 2000 and it needs to be. That’s why it’s such a big deal, because there’s so much change, but it reflects the amount of change that’s gone on in Port Moody.
“There’s very little else that’s been accomplished because we’ve been consumed by this,” Clay added. “There are too many great things in that plan to keep deferring and delaying it.”
Royer said he would have preferred that the OCP had been delayed until after the election, though he wasn’t too upset with the results.
“In a way, I’m happy because it creates a clear choice [in the election],” he said. “The first order of business for me [if elected] is to re-open the OCP and provide… the kind of protection that would help create a great community, as opposed to no protection and no number.
“All those things have to be spelled out because they’re not going to be offered by the development community.”
Port Moody sets out growth plan in adopted official community plan
by Sarah Payne – The Tri-City News
posted Oct 16, 2014 at 6:00 PM
It’s time to move on, Port Moody council said Tuesday night, as it approved the official community plan that will guide the city’s growth over the next three decades.
Most council members, some of whom have been shepherding the OCP through various stages since a city-wide update started in 2006, said they were elected by residents in 2011 to develop and approve a plan.
That the approval comes a month before the municipal elections means, for better or worse, that the current council will be held particularly accountable for the decision.
“We have spent years discussing this particular OCP and I feel the public has a right to know how this council feels about it,” said Coun. Gerry Nuttall, who is running for re-election.
“To defer it to a future council and put it in the hands of perhaps people who haven’t been through the process that we have is unfair to them as well as to the residents of Port Moody.”
Speaking to the group of about 20 spectators holding OCP protest signs, Coun. Rosemary Small, also running again, said council has listened to the input and included a number of recommendations, and the resulting plan is one that the majority will support and that preserves the city’s small-town charm.
“I fully believe this council wants an OCP that does address that,” Small added, noting the concerns over the lack of floor space ratios [FSR] in the plan are misguided. “We’ve been advised by… staff that this is not a good outcome, that it could set ourselves up for litigation. As long as our bylaws address the numbers, I’m not concerned they’re not in the OCP.”
Councillors Rick Glumac and Zoe Royer, both of whom voted against adopting the OCP (and both of whom are also running for re-election), had earlier raised the issue of density numbers — or lack thereof — in the plan.
“The OCP has no limits on density and, in some key areas, no limits on heights,” Glumac said. “This gives the developers the opportunity to come forward with proposals that may be out of character for the community.”
Citing the Local Government Act, Royer stated the OCP must “include statements and map designations to do with the location, the amount and the type of density of residential development.”
The OCP includes specific building heights for all of the development areas except for those listed as Special Study Areas (Andrés Wine, Mill and Timber and Ioco), which will require further analysis and comprehensive development plans, but not FSR numbers. Staff have stated the zoning bylaw is the appropriate place for those figures.
“As the OCP is drafted now, it deals with density through different land use categories,” said James Stiver, the city’s general manager of planning, adding the OCP does satisfy requirements of the Local Government Act.
Royer asked that the OCP be deferred so that a future council could bring PoMo’s regional context statement into alignment with Metro Vancouver’s regional growth strategy.
“Don’t get me wrong, there’s some good things in the OCP,” she said. “But if we chip away at the public good in all of this, if we self-regulate as communities, something is lost.”
Coun. Diana Dilworth, another incumbent running again, acknowledged she didn’t agree with everything in the OCP but the level of public input — estimated at about 1,000 residents — was the largest she’s seen, and the resulting plan incorporates that input.
“This is a 30-year plan… that provides broad guidance and direction based on input from council and residents,” she said, noting it is similar to previous OCPs that resulted in award-winning developments like Newport Village, Klahanie and Suter Brook.
“One of the most positive attributes of the plan is that it provides flexibility for future councils and future residents to amend or change the direction,” she said.
And whatever the OCP may say — or not say — several members emphasized future councils will be free to turn down any development proposal that doesn’t fit with Port Moody’s character.