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May 9,2008 Tri City News

By Sarah Payne - The Tri-City News - May 09, 2008

Moody Centre residents are concerned about new high-density plans for the Andres Wines property and its implications for the Murray-Clarke Connector.

Included in the new plans are highrise towers of 26, 21 and 14 storeys, seniors’ housing and artists’ studios as well as office and retail space plus a light-industrial business park. Vintner Street is absorbed into the development, pushing the connector alignment back up on to Clarke Street.

“We’re concerned about that much density so close to heavy industry,” said Wendy Swalwell, president of the Moody Centre Community Association.

The five-acre site is next to Reichhold Chemicals, a plant that turns petroleum-based raw materials into resins for products such as boat hulls and bathtubs and in the manufacturing of paints, stains and varnishes. The plant runs around the clock and is serviced by tanker trucks and the nearby railway, as is Pacific Coasts Terminals, which handles sulphur.

Swalwell added that the 2008 draft official community plan only calls for multi-family residential development of about three to four storeys — nowhere near the 26 being suggested.

The new proposal comes more than a year after Urbanics Consultants Ltd. first brought a mixed-use concept to Port Moody’s land use committee. Residents and council members raised a number of concerns and asked the developers to go back to the drawing board to resolve six main issues:

• the Murray-Clarke Connector alignment;

• residential land use next to heavy industry;

• the highrise component;

• environmental concerns;

• provision of affordable housing;

• and incorporating Smart Growth principles.

Urbanics says the new proposal addresses those issues.

The residential component has been moved back from the industrial area and situated closer to Clarke Street with the business park providing a buffer between the two.

Residents and the land use committee objected to highrises in that location but Urbanics not only retained that aspect of the plan but increased their proposed height. Andrew Newman of Urbanics said the towers are higher now to account for project delays and the resulting rising construction costs.

“But this also creates more public and open space at the plaza level,” he said. “It preserves the views better and minimizes shadows.”

The total number of units is just shy of 460.

Retail, office and light-industrial space is estimated at 108,000 square feet to address employment concerns. Public amenities include a neighbourhood police station, a Trans Canada Trail lodge, performance flex space, a day care, seniors lounge and grocery store.

Urbanics also envisions a nearby Evergreen Line station, just below the Douglas Street and Clarke Road intersection, and it has incorporated access points for commuters into the proposed plan.

Newman said the “hybrid” alignment for the Murray-Clarke Connector was designed based on the amount of funding allocated to the project and discussions with traffic consultants; the Clarke Street component shifted further north and straightened slightly to improve sight lines and safety.

The updated plans will go back to PoMo’s land use committee on May 20.

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