Jan 27,2011 Tri City News

By Todd Coyne - The Tri-City News
Published: January 27, 2011 3:00 PM

Port Moody city council unanimously shot down plans Tuesday to build a new cul-de-sac on 10 acres of untouched forest lands in the city’s Heritage Mountain area.

Their decision followed a Tuesday night public hearing on rezoning the area to allow Parklane Development to build 27 new single-family homes off Cranberry Court and Sycamore Drive, near Moody’s north-eastern border with Coquitlam.

Local environmental protectionists and Heritage Mountain residents came out to the hearing to voice their opposition to the project, but all five city councillors in attendance — including Mayor Joe Trasolini — told the contingent of Heritage Mountain dwellers in no uncertain terms that their complaints against the new homes seemed to amount to little more than NIMBYism and would hold no sway over council’s decision.

Present at the meeting along with the mayor were councillors Mike Clay, Meghan Lahti, Bob Elliott and Karen Rockwell, who fired first.

“When [Heritage Mountain residents] talk about pristine forests right behind them, I’d have to ask them what resided in their living rooms before their homes were built?,” Rockwell said. “And with the traffic and speeding complaints, that’s a dead end up there so I would hazard a guess and say it’s you and your neighbours doing the speeding.”

Councillors Elliott and Lahti echoed Rockwell’s distaste for the Heritage Mountain residents bloc which they said seemed unfairly bent on keeping new residents out despite having only moved to the area recently themselves.

In the end, however, Mayor Trasolini and his council colleagues cited environmental concerns such as the strain on the already dwindling waters of Noons Creek — a natural spawning ground for cutthroat trout and coho salmon — and the diminishing habitat of the native tailed frog and red-legged frog for keeping the proposed development out.

Parklane’s land development director, Deana Grinnell, spoke on behalf of the 27-home development and her company’s efforts to mitigate its environmental impacts by replacing trees, minimizing blasting in the area and even constructing “interceptor channels for stream recharge” which would ostensibly divert rainwater into Noons Creek to boost its water levels.

Still, PoMo council declared the proposed cul-de-sac the wrong development at the wrong time.

Coun. Lahti said the idea of rezoning 10 acres of forest to build a mere 27 homes is “a perfect example of what we are against” in light of Port Moody’s stated goals for increased residential density and the preservation of its greenspaces.

(NOTE:  all five city councillors in fact did NOT tell the neighbours that their concerns amounted to NIMBYism - in fact I never said any such thing.  Public process is to receive feedback from residents about their concerns for their neighbourhood and their city - everyone is entitled to input into the way our city is shaped.  I have voted against this application by Parklane since it was first presented as i feel it is overdevelopment of the parcel beyond which the geography of the area can accept.)