2014-04-27 — OCP media reports ending week of April 27

Port Moody passes OCP
Official Community Plan Approved With 5-2 Vote
Jeremy Deutsch / Tri-Cities Now
April 25, 2014 12:00 AM
http://www.thenownews.com/news/port-moody-passes-ocp-1.984284

It’s divided Port Moody for the better part of a year, but the debate is finally over with the city’s official community plan (OCP).

Following a final public hearing on the document Tuesday, city council did the expected by approving the OCP in a 5-2 vote.

Couns. Zoe Royer and Rick Glumac both voted against the OCP.

Royer said she’s heard a great deal of uncertainty in the community about the plan, and argued good employment is missing from it. Glumac, meanwhile, suggested the document is missing numbers when it comes to density and building heights.

On the flip side, Coun. Gerry Nuttall suggested the OCP is a “living document” that will change many times to meet the community’s needs, while Coun. Rosemary Small echoed those comments, pointing out the public will get a chance to have a say on each potential development as it comes forward.

For more than a year, city council has been working on the OCP in anticipation of the Evergreen Line’s arrival. 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.

As part of the OCP process, the city held several well attended town hall meetings, while more than 1,000 people have weighed in on the plan in various forms over the last year.

The OCP has been both well received and panned by residents – a divide that was clearly evident during the final public hearing Tuesday.

A couple dozen people spoke at the hearing, both for and against the plan.

Resident George Assaf urged council to step back from the document, suggesting the changes proposed could make the City Centre look like Metrotown

Hazel Mason, president of the Moody Centre Community Association, suggested the majority of residents are opposed to the plan and called on council to bring the OCP to a referendum in the fall.

Others opposed to the plan suggested it favours developers.

But those in favour of the document urged council to move on and pass the plan.

“Let’s get on and do something,” said Port Moody Arts Centre board president Ann Kitching.

Port Moody resident and business owner Helen Daniels said it’s finally time for the Moody Centre area to get attention, while realtor John Grasty suggested the plan revitalizes the community and protects heritage.

******************

Port Moody taxes to rise 2.1%
Janis Warren – The Tri-City News
posted Apr 24, 2014 at 1:00 PM— updated Apr 24, 2014 at 3:17 PM
http://www.tricitynews.com/news/256595111.html

Port Moody homeowners will see an average $59 jump in their property bills this year.

On Tuesday, city council unanimously gave three readings to the tax bylaw, which, if approved next month, will see property and utility levies go up by a blended 2.1%. The rate is more than a point lower than last year’s 3.38%

The tax, which pays for city hall, fire, police and library services as well as utilities such as garbage and recycling collection, means homeowners living in a home with the statistically average assessed value of $539,275 will pay about $2,865 this year.

Council voted to make a few adjustments to the budget this year to save money: The city will sell three older police cruises, shave $40,000 off three summer celebrations (looking for corporate sponsorship instead) and bump the city tourism plan to next year.

As well, council voted against hiring a media clipping service and moved the second phase of the museum site study to 2018. And no additional police officers or firefighters will be hired this year.

As part of the five-year financial plan, which also received three bylaw readings, council plans to tuck away 1% a year until at least 2018 for asset renewal.

Among its major capital projects for 2014, the city is proposing

• $859,000 for transportation upgrades (traffic calming, signage and bus stops);

• $675,000 for civic centre exterior repairs;

• $520,000 for the water system replacement and upgrades on Moody Street;

• $464,000 for recreation complex improvements;

• $450,000 for road reconstruction.

In her report to council, financial planning manager Gorana Cabral noted Port Moody, like other B.C. municipalities, struggles to keep up with increased wages and benefits for city staff, rising federal and provincial costs for CPP, EI and WCB contributions, inflation and other related fees to do business (utilities, fuel, software maintenance and postage)

Still, the city has seen “some modest growth” in tax revenues from new construction as well as fees and fines hikes, she wrote.

Port Moody forecasts property taxes will rise an average of $66 next year and $88 in 2016. City council is expected to adopt its 2014 tax rate and five-year financial plan bylaws at its May 13 meeting. Property taxes are due by July 2.

jwarren@tricitynews.com

OCP TO THREE

Saying that Port Moody’s official community plan is a good vision for the city, Mayor Mike Clay presided over the vote Tuesday for one of the city’s more contentious plans in many years.

The OCP, which lays out a broad vision for the city, including land-use changes for high-profile properties along the waterfront and near Evergreen Line stations, was given third reading following a lengthy public hearing.

Clay noted the OCP concludes a process that began in 2006; the next stage is a review by Metro Vancouver on the regional context statement and growth strategy.

The OCP process has been divided throughout, with differing opinions on building heights and how density should be portrayed in the plan. In the end, councillors Rick Glumac and Zoe Royer voted against granting the document third reading.

dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

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