Port Moody official community plan generates controversy – Dec. 13, 2013

Port Moody official community plan generates controversy

by  Dan Ebenal – The Tri-City News
Dec 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM

The latest draft of Port Moody’s official community plan is far from final.

But it is certainly controversial.

Echoes from a November town hall meeting on the planning document continued to reverberate through Port Moody’s Inlet Theatre Tuesday night.

Gaetan Royer, the former PoMo city manager — and husband of Coun. Zoe Royer — made a presentation to council asking it to get staff more involved in the process.

“You have been making changes with very specific recommendations, very specific resolutions,” he said.

Royer said council should scrap plans to have the OCP go to the city’s committee of the whole for review in January and instead have staff consult with residents in neighbourhoods divided over the plan. He pointed to CoronationPark, which has “bounced from zero growth to 30 storeys back to zero growth.”

Royer said switching between the two extremes has resulted in residents organizing their own meetings in the community to rally support for one of the factions.

“Somewhere in between, there is a solution and I think the city should help the neighbourhood to discover that solution,” he said.

Council moved ahead with plans for a Jan. 7 committee to review the OCP but those around the council table seemed receptive to obtaining further input from staff.

Mayor Mike Clay said many of those voicing objections over the OCP are only opposed to a part of the plan that affects them specifically.

“At the last meeting, there was what looked to be an angry mob of 350 people or so here,” Clay said, noting, “A number of people got up and said, ‘I support this plan generally except this aspect of it.'”

But the mayor did agree that council has gotten far too specific with the OCP, something he says has chased a number of developers away. Clay said he has always supported removing potentially contentious areas like CoronationPark or the Mill and Timber site from the OCP and referring them to as a neighbourhood area plan that would require further consultation. He added that redevelopment of both the mill and Andre’s Wine sites would require approval from Metro Vancouver.

“Those are just pipe dreams at this point, anyhow,” Clay said. “You’re describing a vision of what the community might look like.”

The mayor took exception to comments that council is using the OCP to force changes on the community that it is not ready for.

“The OCP doesn’t guarantee or enable anything to be built,” he said. “It’s a vision document.”

He said council will now go over the input received from the community at the town hall meetings as well as through correspondence, make any necessary revisions and then go back before the public.

“This stuff isn’t going to be built overnight. This is 30-year planning. If you don’t like the vision this council comes up with, then your referendum is when you go to the polls in November [2014 civic elections].”

debenal@tricitynews.com

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