New report card coming for Port Moody developments

After 14 years, Port Moody is set to overhaul the report card the city applies to potential developments, following a unanimous vote at Tuesday’s committee-of-the-whole council meeting.

The report rates potential projects based on their cultural, economic, environmental and social impacts on the city, something that should push developments to a higher standard, according to Coun. Meghan Lahti.

“Anything that’s in-stream right now, in my opinion, should already be meeting those expectations around building form,” Lahti said.

The new system, which is tentatively scheduled to be implemented this spring, represents a “big step forward” from the city’s previous scoring system, according to Coun. Hunter Madsen. The current system was started in 2008 and updated in 2017 as a report card for development projects.

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“I never had that much confidence in the point system and how we were rating things,” Madsen said.

Coun. Amy Lubik made a similar point, saying she recalled some proposals that got a 100 percent rating for their economic viability, “just because there’s a lot of people in them,” she said.

The previous system was “becoming outdated” due to its subjective scoring system and the lack of monitoring, according to a city staff report. The new system is intended to “mitigate these pitfalls,” while incorporating plans to address climate change and to help improve the lifestyle of Port Moody seniors.

“The buildings we build today will be around for the next 60-80 years on average and it is crucial for the evolvement of our community that these structures are built to the highest sustainability standards,” the draft report stated, noting the city’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Marked prior to first reading by city council, the report card includes a range of inquiries ranging from active transportation to pet friendly rentals.

Climate change questions

Development proposals will be gauged on their energy system, with points awarded for on-site heating and cooling such as solar panels or heat pumps.

Developers are also asked how they’ll provide: “basic needs amid prolonged power outage and extreme weather.”

Projects are assessed on how they enhance the urban forest and increase biodiversity and “resilience to climate change impacts.”

Artistic questions

Developments will be judged based on what they do for arts in the City of the Arts. The report card inquires whether the development designates space for artists or creative enterprises, including artist studios, outdoor stages, and publicly accessible artwork.

The report card also asks if the project improves the streetscape, “integrating lasting creative elements and demonstrating effort to optimize the project’s beautification impact.”

Economic questions

Developers will also be asked how many – and what type of jobs – will be generated by the development.

Projects will also earn points by improving connectivity to retail shops and other services near the site.

Implementation

The new report card represents what council wants to see immediately, according to Coun. Meghan Lahti.

“Let’s get this going as quickly as possible,” she said.

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