Port Moody council to address hostile work environment

Good morning, gang.

Jeremy here. And as I squint down from the TCTC (Tri-Cities Traffic Copter – actually my Twitter account) I’m recommending drivers steer clear of Mariner Way as it looks like they’re doing some asphalt work at the intersections of Hawser Avenue, Windward Drive and Dewdney Trunk. The work is set to go on from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. until Wednesday, depending on weather.

And as I cruise over Port Moody I can just see Capilano Road is closed from the roundabout to Brew Street. Also: no through traffic from Morrissey to Capilano from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. That stretch is set to reopen Thursday.

Today we’ve got something strictly for the birds and a project that’s not quite here nor there. However, we begin with orneriness in the City of the Arts.

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Port Moody council will try to remedy what Mayor Rob Vagramov called: “a pretty hostile work environment.”

The mayor opened last Tuesday’s finance committee meeting with a metaphor about the fragility of relationships. The mayor asked his colleagues to envision a pot of delicious honey.

“If you take one little teaspoon of manure . . . the result is that nobody wants this anymore. It’s no longer honey.”

The plan: While council was unanimous in supporting a workshop series with “relevant consultants” ” to try to improve “respectful communication,” there were also suggestions that the idea was overdue.

Long-time coming Both Couns. Meghan Lahti and Zoe Royer said they’d asked for a similar intervention for more than a year.

Royer also mentioned that she’d drafted a motion asking council to affirm their commitment to a safe, respectful workplace free from shaming, harassment and persecution.

  • “I don’t know why you saw the need to jump in before my full report to council but that’s OK. I don’t need to be the author of something,” she told Vagramov

Attendance important Coun. Hunter Madsen also offered a few words of caution.

  • “I’ve attended other such sessions to try to improve communication,” he said. “I want everybody to show up for this one.”

The initiative is crucial, according to Vagramov. “I don’t know how much honey is left,” he said.

It’s not ready for its public yet.

When judging a proposed 215-unit development on the 3000-block of Murray Street Tuesday, Port Moody council didn’t reject it but they didn’t quite support it, either, withholding a second reading pending revisions.

Council’s wish list:

  • More job space in general and more light industrial space in particular
  • More below market housing
  • More bedrooms with windows

As it was, the project was forecast to create between 134 and 159 new jobs (including 17 home-based businesses) over 29,274 square feet of employment space.

  • The development was also slated to include five below-market units and 50 market rental units.

Madsen calls project ‘scary’ The development is: “a scheme to pack more units into these parcels with living spaces that are going to be miserable for a lot of the residents,” Coun. Hunter Madsen said, suggesting the project was a “scary proposal” in terms of livability.

  • “We don’t need extra density in the city,” he said, predicting Port Moody would surpass its long-term population targets. The real shortage is jobs density, he explained.

Flat pop: According to the province’s population estimates, Port Moody’s population rose by 24 residents between 2014 and 2020, for a total population of 35,151.

The project got some support from Coun. Zoe Royer, who suggested jobs are “sorely missing” on the site. Royer also noted the development’s proximity to Moody Centre SkyTrain.

The vote: Council voted 5-1 to give the project first reading, with Madsen opposed. Mayor Rob Vagramov as well as Couns. Amy Lubik, Steve Milani and Madsen opposed moving the project on to a public hearing.

Port Coquitlam Coun. Laura Dupont is setting her sights on federal politics.

Dupont confirmed she will run for the NDP in a bid to wrest the Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam riding from Liberal MP Ron McKinnon.

Key issues: Dupont cited rent subsidies, paid sick leave and a boost to CERB as NDP achievements during the pandemic. She also emphasized National Pharmacare as a priority.

  • “Too many Canadians are forced to choose between buying groceries or filling their prescriptions,” she stated in a press release.

On her Facebook page, Dupont cited her union roots.

  • “Our family has proud CUPE, BCGEU, HSA, ALPA & ACPA members and people will always be our priority,” she stated.

Dupont was censured in 2020 after an investigator concluded she disclosed confidential information three times. The confidential information, according to Dupont, concerned one tree near a development. Dupont petitioned the Supreme Court to have the censure – which removed her from boards and committees – thrown out.

  • Among council candidates, Dupont was Port Coquitlam’s top vote-getter in 2018, garnering 6,518 votes – 54.8 per cent of all ballots cast.

The exposures – which all took place between April 6 and 8 – were reported at Central Community Elementary, Ecole Glenayre Elementary, Ecole Riverside Secondary, Heritage Woods Secondary and Terry Fox Secondary.  

Happenings around town

In other news

One more thing

If you’re trimming, picking, plucking, chopping, or topping please remember that birds may be nesting through Aug. 31.

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