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Sep 24,2009 Tri City News


Enough is enough, Port Moody council says, and there will be no new growth until an Evergreen Line shovel is in the ground.


Enough is enough, Port Moody council says, and there will be no new growth until an Evergreen Line shovel is in the ground.

At Tuesday’s meeting, council voted to have staff amend the official community plan draft to reflect a policy of zero to minimal residential growth until the city’s transportation infrastructure can catch up to the last 15 years of rapid development.

The move was prompted by TransLink commissioner Martin Crilly’s confirmation that there is no money to build the promised Evergreen Line or the Murray-Clarke Connector. To build them would require TransLink’s budget be hiked by $450 million annually, and that’s not likely to happen.

Council was not swayed by the provincial government’s recent promise that the line connecting Burnaby and Coquitlam through Port Moody would be built.

“For anybody who tells me to be patient and ‘it will be built,’ to those people I say that I am not going to be responsible to the residents of Port Moody based on another vague promise,” Mayor Joe Trasolini said.

Council unanimously supported the motion to take the OCP draft in a new direction but Coun. Gerry Nuttall questioned what it would mean for the contentious Heritage Mountain Shopping Village site.

“If we’re going to have zero to minimal growth, then we should bring everything back as far as we can, and that [proposed development] was at three storeys before, it should be three storeys again,” he said in an interview Wednesday, noting the issue is about more than just the Evergreen Line. “Throughout the whole OCP process, that’s what the public said they wanted, and it’s the public’s OCP, not ours.”

At a July 25 committee of the whole meeting, council voted to allow highrise towers of up to 26 storeys, which Nuttall said residents are opposed to.

The city’s director of planning, Tim Savoie, said the new direction from council means the next OCP draft will look significantly different from what was discussed in the summer.

“We’ll have to take a look at how it’s going to play into the overall picture because of the zero to minimal growth,” he said. “A lot of designations that would have resulted in additional growth will change as a result of this new direction.”

The growth numbers Port Moody was forced to adopt under Metro Vancouver’s Liveable Region Strategic Plan will also change. Instead of the current OCP’s population capacity of 44,000 residents, the new version will show a growth capacity of zero.

It’s unclear what the consequences or outcome would be if Metro Vancouver uses its authority under the Local Government Act to order PoMo to densify.

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