Moody Centre OCP discussed – Jan. 25, 2013

Moody Centre OCP discussed
Jeremy Deutsch / Coquitlam Now
January 25, 2013 02:00 AM

In less than four years, the Evergreen Line will be making its first stops in Port Moody.

With rapid transit’s arrival comes the expected change to the City of the Arts. The line is also the impetus for the city to come up with a new OCP, or Official Community Plan, which will guide growth in Port Moody for the next generation.

One neighbourhood got a head start on getting the ear of the council that will ultimately approve the final OCP.

More than 100 people turned out to the Port Moody Legion Hall last week for an OCP meeting sponsored by the Moody Centre Community Association.

It was an opportunity for residents to get information and provide feedback on the draft OCP and ask city council and staff questions.

Though the document is still in its early form, the OCP is designed for tripling the population of Moody Centre and allowing for 20-storey buildings on the north side of St. Johns Street.

Residents like Wendy Taylor said she understands there will be growth and densification in her neighbourhood, but questioned how it would take place.

She suggested there is a passion in residents for where they live.  “We want to preserve that somehow,” she said.

Moody Centre resident David Rogers said he likes where he lives, but suggested the neighbourhood is ideal for high-density living.

David Grey, a spokesman for owners of the Old Mill and Timber site, asked council and the community to view the OCP as a document that looks 20 to 50 years into the
future.  “That’s the one that gets me excited,” he said, suggesting Moody Centre could look something like FortLangley or even better.

However, he also called on residents to embrace the OCP process and join the discussion.

As for what city councillors would like to see in the OCP, they weren’t tipping their hats.

Coun. Rosemary Small told the crowd it was too early to be suggesting the city would be doubling or tripling the population, adding the feedback from the public will determine exactly how much densification would take place in the neighbourhood.

She also said she agrees with densification to a certain point, but not 20-storey buildings.

Coun. Gerry Nuttall echoed his colleague’s comments, arguing it would be a betrayal to the process and to residents if council had already made up its mind on the OCP.

Mayor Mike Clay said he expects people to differ on certain aspects of the OCP, but the general comments from the meeting were fairly supportive of the plan.

He also argued Port Moody is a bedroom community with a commuter corridor and must balance the desires of residents with its responsibilities within the region.

“You can’t just be blocking off streets or doing random things as if Port Moody is living on an island,” Clay said.

“Change is inevitable. Let’s have good change, let’s plan it out and work on it together.”

Association president Wendy Swalwell said she wasn’t surprised by anything she heard at the meeting, but was pleased with the turnout.

She said she was glad to hear the OCP is still a work in progress, noting some residents already thought it was a done deal.

“It’s good for them [residents] to know that it isn’t, and it’s very important for them to come to meetings and put their face in front of council,” Swalwell said.

An updated version of the OCP, which will include harder numbers on possible population growth, is expected to be in front of council in March, to be followed by more public consultation.

A final draft of the OCP will likely be approved in the summer.

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