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Aug 11,2009 Tri City News


A Port Moody property owner wants Murray Street to go from its current light industrial use to a more residential setting.

Barry Sharbo, who has owned property on the street since 1979, says a mix of residential, live-work units and shops along the south side of Murray would be more in keeping with the area directly across from Rocky Point Park.

"It could be an absolute gem, a tourist attraction," he said. "No other city has this unique situation where you have a strip fronting a fantastic park and waterfront."

Sharbo has enlisted the help of architect Richard Balfour to create a concept drawing for Murray Street; it depicts a cross-section of the street, with the south side featuring a three-storey low-rise of commercial and industrial uses on the bottom and a residential floor on top. Set behind that is another building, about six storeys high, with shops, artists' lofts and townhouses.

The drawing is intended to showcase the concept, Sharbo said, and isn't necessarily for his property in particular. He said he has discussed the idea with city staff and was disappointed to see that in the latest draft of the official community plan, Murray Street is still designated for light industrial uses.

"What we can propose is of much more benefit to the community and property owners," he said.

Leslie Gilbert, manager of planning for Port Moody, said the industrial designation is still the best option for Murray.

"We're still seeing it as a viable part of the community," she said. "It's an income-generating part of Moody Centre and we also don't really want to see it conflicting with or in competition with St. Johns Street and the Moody Centre commercial core. Council has also said it's an important priority to keep a strong industrial base."

Fellow planner Mary de Paoli added that park space and light industrial uses aren't necessarily incompatible. "We think the uses work quite well together," she said.

Public input on the OCP is still being welcomed. A recent committee of the whole meeting held to discuss the OCP was cut short after council decided it couldn't plan future land uses without knowing the fate of the Evergreen Line and the Murray-Clarke Connector. Council will revisit the issue in the fall and a town hall meeting is also being planned for additional public input.

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