Get to know your OCP – Moody Centre Station Area.


Do you know what’s contained in the Official Community Plan (OCP) ?

 The OCP is a vision document which plans for the future of our City to help ensure that Port Moody continues to be a coveted place to live and protects our character and heritage.

Chapter 15 of the OCP contains Neighbourhood Area Plans – with 7 distinct neighbourhoods along the St Johns Corridor identified.  It details the vision described for how this area can adapt to the changes that Skytrain will bring and addresses residents desire for revitalization – adding more vibrancy to the area.  Although a relatively small area, about 3km long and 5-6 blocks deep, the sub-areas are very detailed and the result of extensive community consultation including design charettes specifically looking at this area.

It’s unfortunate that some members of our community are mis-representing the OCP and making comments that seem intended only to create fear and division in our neighbourhoods.  Comments like ‘there are no limits to development’ , ‘there is no plan’ , ‘the plan doesn’t address employment’ and ‘this plan does nothing to protect our city character’.  This is the most comprehensive, detailed OCP the City has ever had.

The reality of the OCP is that it provides a 30 year vision for the future of Port Moody.  It addresses the need to adapt to change and, particularly, the significant impact the Skytrain will have on our neighbourhoods.  It balances the desire for Port Moody to remain an environmental leader, an Arts and Culture hub, and a progressive , vibrant community, with our need to protect the character, heritage and livability that makes us the best place to live. The plan includes modest, 1.5% annual growth over the 30 years – the lowest growth rate in Port Moody in over 2 decades.  No longer LEADING the region in growth, but well below the regional targets and ensuring that we accommodate growth to the benefit of our community.

Section 15.5.6 describes the Moody Centre Station – Transit Oriented Development sub-area of Moody Centre, a small three block by three block area from Moody to Electronic, St Johns to rail corridor, that includes a Skytrain, West Coast Express and bus station.

The vision for this area includes many great concepts:

– higher density,  mixed use, pedestrian friendly transit oriented development within a 400 metre  radius of the proposed station.
– low and mid rise forms and a mix of residential, retail, office, service,  civic, institutional, recreational and cultural uses.
– a variety of building heights is permitted to a maximum of 12 storeys.
– lot consolidation to encourage green space contribution.
– flexible outdoor spaces .
– urban plazas, and public art.
– pedestrian and cycling linkages
– a range of affordable housing options for seniors, mobility challenged.
– significant commercial and employment related uses.
– protection of view corridors.
– parking to support onsite and neighbouring needs, including Rocky Point Park.

Does this vision add to vehicle congestion on St Johns Street or through Port Moody ?

Any new population will bring with it additional vehicles, however, having a well planned development that adheres to the Transit Oriented Design principles allows people to make a choice for a car free lifestyle.  This area, in addition to being immediately beside/connected to a Transit station,  is in easy walking vicinity to Newport/Suterbrook and St Johns Street commercial districts, as well as Rocky Point Park and Shoreline trail.  This provides a real option to attract new residents that don’t own or want to own a car.   Residents and businesses in this neighbourhood would live/work in one of the most transit accessible areas anywhere, with Bus, Skytrain and West Coast express at their doorstep ! Also, being West of the major congestion point of Ioco / Barnet would not have a significant impact on that area during commuter peaks.


Does this vision help create or attract jobs in Port Moody ?

There is distinct wording in the plan that this area should be developed as a mixed use, residential/commercial/retail development, that further articulates attracting office/high tech employment providing businesses.  While there is commercial retail included in the plan, it is clear that Port Moody has in the past over developed small commercial space and it needs to be balanced with the demand.  Business wants to locate in an area that is attractive not only to their customers, but to their employees.  Connections to transit, proximity to schools and daycares, restaurants, ease of access, safety – all of the strengths of Port Moody combine to make this a very attractive offering for businesses.

Does this vision help revitalize Moody Centre ?
Yes !  New opportunities for businesses that are supported by additional residential development, at a transit hub and close to Rocky Point Park.  Changing an area that is dominated by surface parking lots and empty buildings to a vibrant and pedestrian oriented neighbourhood.

Does this vision include multiple high rises ?
No ! The OCP includes language that allows building forms up to 12 storeys.  This height was identified at the design charettes as being a ‘mid rise form’ of development residents would support.   The concept drawing included in the OCP shows 4 buildings up to 12 storeys with other low rise forms, green space, plazas, etc. The language in the OCP that allows for consideration of additional height and density in exchange for additional allocation of community open space allows developers to be innovative in a concept for the community to consider to provide additional park/open space in the area.

REMEMBER – Regardless of the vision in the OCP, most of the land in this area is currently zoned for light industrial or commercial – ANY change in land use will require zoning bylaw updates which will include Council consideration, Land Use committee and public hearings.   Nothing goes ahead here without more details and community consultation.

This is a very important area in Port Moody over the next 2-10 years, under transition, and beyond !  It’s important we get this right.

 

Read Chapter 15 of the Port Moody Official Community Plan Here.

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Mike Clay

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