In a meeting that stretched past midnight into Wednesday morning, Port Moody council ultimately voted to amend the city’s official community plan, clearing the way for a possible 2,665-unit development at Coronation Park.
The development includes six towers ranging from 26 to 31 storeys, more than 105,000 square feet of commercial space, a 2.5-acre park and a new pedestrian overpass.
The project still needs to go through a rezoning process including multiple council votes and a public hearing before any shovels hit the ground. However, council’s vote was critical to keep the project moving forward, according to Wesgroup director of development Brad Jones.
“Tonight, we need a decision,” Jones informed council at the beginning of the meeting. “We are simply out of time on this deal and there can be no more amendments to this OCP before it moves forward.”
On one side
Discussing what he characterized as the project’s “over-the-top crowding,” as well as traffic impacts, Coun. Hunter Madsen cautioned his colleagues against approving the proposal.
“If we move forward with this development, we may be making the most unfortunate urban planning mistake in the history of Port Moody,” he said.
Madsen subsequently put forward a motion intended to introduce affordable rental to the project.
On the other side
Coun. Meghan Lahti urged council not to make the same mistake she once made.
“I took the easy way out back in 2006 . . . I actually voted against Suter Brook,” she said, recalling her concerns about traffic congestion.
Area residents have suffered due to council’s ineffectiveness, according to Lahti.
“It isn’t bold to say no,” Lahti said. “We’ve been obstructionist and pushed away opportunities for too long.”
It’s time to move the project forward, Lahti said.
“Once this neighbourhood is completed, it will house a new generation of Port Moody residents,” she said.
In the middle
Coun. Amy Lubik said she was “somewhat torn” on the project.
“Where this falls down for me is the lack of affordable housing,” Lubik said, noting council previously voted to remove the affordable housing component to reduce overall density.
“I think it’s always important to admit when we’ve made a mistake,” she said.
The project will likely need to evolve should the proposal move through the rezoning process, according to Lubik.
“It’s good where it is but I think that there’s more negotiating to be done,” Lubik concluded.
How they voted
Couns. Amy Lubik, Meghan Lahti, Zoe Royer and Diana Dilworth supported the amendment. Couns. Steve Milani and Hunter Madsen opposed the change. After opposing the amendment at third reading, Mayor Rob Vagramov supported the motion at adoption, explaining that he didn’t want to stand in the way of the project moving forward.
From the public
Many affected residents spoke of the community being in shambles as owners delay repairs while the development proposal remains in limbo.
However, other residents criticized the project citing excessive density and impacts to traffic.