Facts vs. Fiction – what’s going on in Port Moody ?
During this election campaign, we are hearing from some people that are using terms such as :
‘Tsunami of development’, ‘run away growth’, ‘wall of high rise towers’ – and it continues.
You’ve heard it. Do you believe it ?
I’ve been Mayor of Port Moody since 2011 and I’ve been a member of City Council since 2005. In that time, I have approved ONE application for a tower – actually, more accurately, to change 6 storey multi family building to a 26 storey multi family building. In exchange for that additional 212 units, the developer dedicated 50 units for below market rental and 25 as market rental. And they gave a cash contribution to the City for amenities of between $ 15 and $ 20 million. And it didn’t require an OCP amendment as it is in the high density zone.
So – that’s the ONE tower I’ve ever approved in the 13 years I’ve been on Council. Suterbrook and Klahanie were approved before I was elected in 2005.
Looking at St Johns street, where we hear about this ‘wall of towers like Metrotown’ I currently see : 0 (ZERO). The City is working with land owners on the Moody Centre TOD site to deliver on the neighbourhood plan, that may include higher buildings, but it will also have to include a park, new job/employment space, commercial and retail spaces like grocery stores, and a mix of housing including Seniors, Rentals and affordable options. This is a two block stretch of St Johns and Spring from Moody to Buller, an area that is currently light industry, and retail and a massive parking lot for transit. Nothing is approved and it will require extensive consultation with the community, and the owners, to deliver on our shared vision.
We have recently approved projects with affordable/below market housing, innovative rent to own programs, and creative use of small lot subdivision, laneway housing and heritage agreements to deliver new housing stock, and we will continue looking at solutions that enhance neighbourhoods. The City, Council and the development community in Port Moody have shown we can plan and build AMAZING neighbourhoods, and that will continue under my leadership as Mayor.
What about all the growth and the ‘explosion’ of our population ?
Consider the fact: From 2011, when I was elected Mayor, to 2017 the last full year of population data, the BC Government reports the population of Port Moody has gone from 34,027 to 33,857. Yes. That went down. a .5% decrease in population over 7 years. (Click here for details)
|Port Moody||34,027||34,088 (+.2%)||34,583 (+1.5%)||34,993 (+1.25)||34,915 (-0.2%)||34,414 (-1.4%)||33,857 (-1.6%)||-0.5%|
Conversely over those years, we have added substantially to our employment/jobs in Port Moody, including WorkSafe opening their office in Suterbrook, and Regus opening the office centre – between those two alone, over 400 jobs are added to Port Moody. We have also added many new employment, such as the breweries on Brewers Row. A regional sensation, the four breweries combined would now be the fourth largest employer in the City , with only the Hospital, School District and City having more employees. Our business tax base has increased significantly with the investments at PCT and the Suterbrook office development, those two alone contributing over $ 1 million in NEW tax revenue to the City.
These are facts – there are no altered pictures here to scare people – this is reality.
Is the City planning for the future ? Of course we are. But there is nothing ‘runaway’ , ‘uncontrolled’ or ‘monumental’ going on – simply good planning for our future.
YES – we have traffic congestion, as every City does , and we need to work to improve that – but this has occurred despite a population decrease in Port Moody, so blaming it on growth IN our city is a myth. We need to work with the region and our neighbours to find solutions for REGIONAL traffic. To get people using transit and making transit work for them. And continuing to bring new jobs to the City so less people have to leave the City and sit in commuter congestion every day.
This is where I’ve been focusing MY efforts and will continue to for the next four years – not just complaining and building walls.
…the population of Port Moody has approximately doubled from about 17,000 since I arrived here in 1989; about 30 years. Prior, and since we became a city in 1913, the population had doubled on average (including through 2 World Wars and depression) about every 15 years. Our OCP will likely be revisited in the next year or two, and based on existing planning conventions will look out 30 years. It makes one wonder whether there will be a need for our population to be doubling again in that OCP period given our most recent 30-year period prior?