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June 14,2012 Tri City News



A group of Port Moody property owners wants a third Evergreen Line station in their neighbourhood.

The West Port Moody Property Owners Group, currently consisting of about two dozen property owners, say they have a plan for a privately funded station at the bottom of the Clarke Road hill.

"If we don't get a stop there that whole section of west Port Moody and Moody Centre isn't going to get the chance to do what it can do," said Jillian Hull, who represented the group as a delegation at Tuesday's council meeting.

Hull was joined by Urbanics Consulting president Phil Boname for the pitch to council. About five years ago Urbanics worked with the Andres Wines owners on a detailed mixed-use development proposal for their property, but it was eventually shelved because of council's concerns around the lack of infrastructure to support any significant new development and the property's proximity to heavy industry.

In his presentation Boname said PoMo's western edge has seen very little growth and suffers from a dire lack of city-owned facilities and community amenities like grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores.

"This offers the correct the imbalance of service and amenities that needs to be addressed and to give residents in the west the services that are sorely needed," he added.

The tunnel portal in the area of Barnet Highway/St. Johns and Clarke streets offers the best option for locating a third station, according to the group. Any closer to Moody Centre runs into the heritage conservation area, which would significantly limit development and ridership opportunities.

Although there were no development plans shown at Tuesday's meeting, the group is confident the third station could be privately funded with new development that would house up to 9,000 residents.

But Mayor Mike Clay said their information from the Evergreen project team stipulates a station cost of $25 million and ridership of 15,000 people to justify a third station.

"That's bigger than Klahanie, Suter Brook and Newport Village combined, and that's just a huge number," Clay said. "The scope of that development would be absolutely massive. It's easy to say it wouldn't have the same impact, but another 50% increase in the population would have a huge effect, no matter where it is in town."

Clay also noted the city has worked extensively on its official community plan and there would need to be more consultation with residents before council lobbied for a third Evergreen station.

Portions of the OCP affecting Moody Centre and parts of Seaview, Coronation Park and Inlet Centre are now being reviewed with an eye to transit-oriented development (TOD) given the Evergreen's arrival come 2016. A design charette is planned for tomorrow (Saturday) and, earlier this week, the city's economic development committee hosted an executive briefing for local business owners on the Evergreen Line and how it affects the OCP.

Hull and Boname pointed to Coquitlam as an example of how the city can negotiate for an additional station based on a private financing model.

"This time we know there's a precedent," Hull said.

And even if the station isn't built now, the group wants to see the project team at least do the work necessary to allow for a third station in the future.

According to the group's report, the technical amendments needed would not be prohibitive. "Viable options include a station in the tunnel under the Barnet or a flattening of the guideway for a portion of the line close to the Barnet," the report states.

"It's a great suggestion but I'm not an engineer," Clay said, adding council's original position on the third station that it be located near the north end of Queen Street is based on the Murray-Clarke Connector being incorporated into the mix.

"If the Murray-Clarke Connector isn't being built then the decision should be revisited by council."

According to the Ministry of Transportation, the guideway will be built to accommodate a future station in western Port Moody, near Queens Street, if it's funded by community partners and if it supports the goals of transit-oriented development.

The two opening-day stations, Ioco and Moody Central, were chosen based on their ability to serve major destinations, their walking-distance proximity to existing high-population and employment areas and their connection to other transit modes and parking.

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