Despite adding 285 new units of housing, the population in the City of the Arts dropped by 16 people between 2016 and 2021, bringing Port Moody’s population to 33,535, according to Census data released earlier this year.
We asked the candidates for their thoughts on growth in Port Moody.
Between 2016 and 2021, Port Moody’s population did not increase. Is this a cause for concern? Why or why not?
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With a housing affordability crisis across the lower mainland, we have lost citizens because our housing supply and municipal infrastructure like roadways has not kept up. Thoughtfully managed growth helps increase our residential tax base, add new shops and services and community amenities, and helps our young people and seniors afford to stay in our city. We need city councillors with a realistic and forward-thinking plan to help our city grow while protecting the things that make our community special.
Population increases are just a snapshot in time. When you have a municipality with a high percentage of single family homes built in some cases decades ago, families are raised, the children leave home and you end up with population loss. There have been quite a number of multi-family projects that have been approved and are or will be under construction. I think you will see this trend reversed by the next census.
It’s definitely a concern. Port Moody is one of 21 members of Metro Vancouver and therefore expected to contribute housing to meet the region’s growth projections – we have so far failed in this respect. Most importantly, without new residents and growth, existing residents are left to shoulder the ever-growing tax burden alone. Our residential tax rate is 30% higher than the regional average.
The fact is a lot of development has been approved in Port Moody over the last few years. The 2021 census is backward looking and captures the decisions of our previous council, not our current council. Between Woodland Park and other developments housing for 8000 new residents has been approved. If you include Coronation Park (in the re-zoning application stage) we have approved 13,000 new residents. This is over a 35% increase to our current population. My concern now is how are we going to handle this growth while maintaining quality of life in our wonderful city. It’s time for Port Moody to focus on building other aspects of our community like expanding our parks including the significant expansion of Rocky Point Park, rebuilding our local economy, and improving our infrastructure.
Yes, we should be concerned. From 2016 – 2021, we lost people under 54 years, and gained people over 55; we lost families. Affordability and availability of homes suitable for families is likely some of these reasons for the change.
Amy Lubik (incumbent)
Port Moody is on track to increase affordable housing by 50 percent. Several new developments, including Electronic Avenue and Suter Brook Parcel D, are in various stages of approval or move-in. We are growing toward our targets, while ensuring new developments enhance our community.
Hunter Madsen (incumbent)
It would be more accurate to say that the city’s population increased by only about 500 residents during that period, according to the Census, which is still pretty darn flat; but no, this is not cause for concern. The pace of housing starts is inherently uneven, and the big stampede of Port Moody development, following the opening of two Skytrain stations, was only just ramping up during that period. At this point, the city is experiencing a huge amount of construction, and our municipality is well on track to meet or – far more likely – to exceed the population growth and building unit targets that our community approved, and that Metro Vancouver acknowledged, in the Regional Growth Statement of our current OCP. Port Moody today is among the most sought-after communities to live in, and the city has an extensive pipeline of major development projects in process. Really, if there’s any reasonable cause for concern, it is that the community’s population will probably be growing faster than the approved plan and faster than the city’s services and amenities can keep pace with over the next couple decades; a recipe, alas, for a decline in key dimensions of its liveability and quality of life.
I believe it is a big concern. Port Moody needs to grow even if it is only marginally each year. A growing population means that we have residents living here, having children, and staying here. We need to provide housing to make this happen and a reduction in population usually means we are not providing new housing options for our children and our seniors live in, or we are not providing options that are affordable and our residents are choosing to leave.
Steve Milani (mayoral candidate)
Due to the closing date of the Statistics Canada survey, it did not capture many of the new rental and strata units that people are currently residing in. The population in Moody Centre actually increased by 10.9 percent. The next survey will look much different as Port Moody did grow.