Fines increase and restrictions tighten as transmissions soar

Good morning, everybody. Jeremy here.

So, if you see somebody who looks like they’re going places – ask them to please stop. With variant numbers rising, it looks like we have to eat, pray and exercise at home.

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After recording 2,518 new cases over three days, B.C. is bringing in tighter rules.

  • Restaurants can only offer patio dining, take-out and deliveries.
  • Group fitness activities are canceled.
  • Whistler ski resort is closed.

School exposures: Fraser Health tracked 23 exposures at nine District 43 schools between March 15 and 19.

After first stressing individual responsibility at Monday’s press conference, Premier John Horgan identified: “the cohort from 20 to 39” as endangering public health.

“Do not blow this for the rest of us,” Horgan instructed.

Students in Grade 4 to 12 are officially encouraged to wear masks at school.

The new restrictions follow B.C.’s decision to bump up fines from $230 to $575 for promoting or attending unsafe get-togethers.

Variant surge: As of March 29, B.C. had approximately 17 per cent of Canada’s COVID-19 cases and 25 per cent of variant cases.

Parking lot patios: Coquitlam is still offering a fast-tracked process for businesses looking to use sidewalks or parking spots for outdoor seating – as well as for merchandise racks for retailers. Restaurateurs can apply online and get approved as quickly as two business days, according to a release from the city. More information for businesses looking to move outside can be found here

That’s one small step for one great big development.

Port Moody councillors ranged from approving to adoring as they unanimously gave first reading to the 1,861-unit Woodland Park development last week.

Located over a 23-acre boomerang-shaped site from 300 Angela Drive (just east of Glenayre Drive) down to 1142 Cecile Drive, the project would be developed in seven phases – tentatively wrapping up construction around the year 2036.

If approved, the project would replace approximately 200 townhouse units with buildings ranging from six to 15 storeys.

Affordability: The project includes 325 below-market rentals to be developed by B.C. Housing and 132 market rental units.

Speaking to council, B.C. Housing senior development manager Brad Foster emphasized the “unprecedented” $140-million investment from the province while asking Port Moody to move as expeditiously as possible.

“I’d like to remind council that there [are] municipalities across British Columbia who are asking for similar investments,” Foster said.

Traffic and transportation

“It’s still bringing  . . . a lot of rush hour congestion down to the Clarke/Barnet choke point. There’s no skirting that,” Coun. Hunter Madsen said.

At its closest point, future tenants would be about 2.6 kilometres from Moody Centre SkyTrain.

But while the project would include 2,477 underground parking spots, Madsen maintained it was sensible to distribute density outside the city centre. It’s “way too simplistic” to put all density near the SkyTrain, Madsen continued, explaining there’s more potential for affordable housing where the land is cheaper.

Current limit: As the site is outside the Evergreen Line zone, the land hasn’t been designated for development taller than six storeys.

The development could help fund a new SkyTrain station, according to Mayor Rob Vagramov, who emphasized that transportation needs to be sorted out beyond adding a road that would connect to the “existing mess” at Barnet and St. Johns.

The view from the handlebars: Speaking on behalf of cycling advocacy group HUB, Andrew Hartline lauded the improvement the development would bring to Highview Place, noting the route is currently only used by “hardcore road cyclists” and “masochists.”

Enthusiastic response: Questioning the project’s architect, Coun. Zoe Royer asked if the project would be “a great source of pride?”

Architect Mark Ostry assured Royer the project would be: “world class exemplar” of affordability and inclusivity and sensitivity to nature.

“Gosh, that just fills my heart with joy,” Royer said.

The breakdown

  • Strata: 1,404 units (zero three-bedroom units)
  • Below-market rental units: 325 (65 three-bedroom units)
  • Market rental units: 132 (including nine three-bedroom units)
  • FAR: 1.8 (floor area ratio measures a project’s total floor space against its lot size).
  • Commercial space: 19,000 square feet
  • Cash contribution to the city: not yet determined.
  • Tenant relocation plan: Compensation ranges from two- to six-months’ rent plus moving expenses. Current tenants would have the choice to move into the new non-market housing.

Due to a possible impact on her own property, Coun. Meghan Lahti recuses herself from discussion.

A public hearing on the development has not been scheduled.

Anti-abortion group RightNow quietly celebrated “pro-life success” at the recent Conservative Party policy convention after securing 7 of 18 spots on the party’s National Council.

“We fully expect that pro-lifers will continue to get further involved in the Conservative Party of Canada coming out of this convention,” stated RightNow co-founder and executive director Alissa Golob in a press release.

Port Moody-Coquitlam, Anmore, Belcarra MP Nelly Shin reportedly attended a speech given by Golob in Coquitlam in 2019.

Shin did not respond to multiple requests for comment about the convention.

Watch, listen, or have your children colour along to Place Des Arts’ modern, multimedia retelling of the Ugly Duckling.

After first declaring his pronouns, this particular duckling takes us from the country of Coquitlam to the marshland of Port Coquitlam

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