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Apr 25,2008 - The Now News

Angela MacKenzie, Coquitlam NOW
Published: Friday, April 25, 2008

Port Moody residents packed the Glenayre Community Centre Tuesday to voice their concerns over the city's official community plan (OCP), but council voted to defer looking at the proposed changes and directed staff to go back to the community for more input.

Planning and development services department staff gave council their first look at proposed changes to land-use designations for the OCP through a PowerPoint presentation, a written report and displays of large city maps at the council committee of the whole meeting.

Tim Savoie, the director of planning and development services, said the land-use designations would serve as guidelines for development.

City staff are still looking at draft policies as part of the ongoing OCP, he said, and a more solidified draft OCP would eventually be presented to undergo a full public-hearing process.

Coun. Karen Rockwell questioned the proposed increases in density to several areas of the city, citing concerns over a lack of infrastructure to support such growth.

"I'm really concerned that we're going in a direction that our community is not ready for ... and that is biting off more than we can chew given our very limited infrastructure," she said, her words triggering enthusiastic applause from residents.

Mayor Joe Trasolini said he would need more than 15 minutes to review the staff report and provide feedback and questioned why the item was on the committee of the whole agenda.

Savoie said he would arrange meetings for both council and the community to look at the proposals and provide feedback over the next few months.

Ann Hulbert, a former Port Moody councillor, told council that many residents are unhappy with the direction of proposed changes to the OCP.

"I don't like it, a lot of people don't like it and I really think that you need to go back to the drawing board," she said. "I don't care if it takes another year."

Trasolini emphasized that he and council have removed themselves from the OCP process so far in order not to interfere with community input.

Port Moody began the process to update the city's 2000 OCP last year with community workshops and meetings starting in September 2006.

An OCP is a statement by a city of its long-term vision for the community's future and is updated regularly by municipalities.

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