The city hosted a public workshop at Kyle centre to provide input and education to the community on the Heritage Area designation.
The workshop was attended by upwards of 90 people, and the group was broken into 9 tables to discuss 6 questions:
Why are you here ?
The majority responded that they were interested in the process and concerned about the implications of heritage designation, and wanting to protect the small town feel of moody centre.
What does heritage mean to you ?
Most responses were about architecture, design and materials - the look and feel of the neighbourhood including residential and commercial buildings, streetscapes, parks, etc. The actual AGE of buildings was cited, the historic value and the density of the area were also prominent.
What concerns do you have about heritage designation ?
Most responses revolved around continuity of the neighbourhoods, personal property rights and economic impact. Many people cited a concern of tax rates rising to protect the heritage , while (conversely?) almost unanimously people were concerned about the changing landscape to multi-family residential, high rise, and dense commercial development. Common responses were "we dont want port moody to become another ... (surrey, vancouver, etc) " Spending money to protect the heritage of one property while your neighbour did not was a concern, and some were concerned about an OLD property being confused with an HISTORIC property.
What benefits do you see ?
Most responses tied into the concerns - one of the major benefits seemed to be the entrenchment of design standards into the bylaws that would control NEW development. Some thought property values might increase, many thought tourism opportunities would benefit from a fort langely or steveston type environment. California Stucco and property line to property line mega houses seemed to be a common concern, and most felt that the area designation would help control that sort of development.
What area would you designate as heritage designation ?
This question was clearly the most troubling for everyone - many thought the entire moody centre area , from Williams or even Moray street on the east, to Albert on the West, Coquitlam/Chineside to the south and the water to the north. Most discussed the trouble with the areas being either too big or too small and the implications that this might have for those included or not included.
A few general questions that were answered by the consultants/advisors on hand:
- heritage designation would be a bylaw, and would be treated as such - meaning council has the capacity to grant variances and amendments as they would with any other bylaw.
- the heritage designation works in conjunction with - usually in addition to - existing zoning bylaws , but the two are independent entities.
- current heritage register includes properties owned by the city and voluntarily identified by the owners as such - there is no restrictions on property rights under the current system, and this is the start of the process to determine if there would be any in the future. Only 4 properties, all owned by the city, are currently PROTECTED heritage properties.
- this is a living process with the community actively crafting the policy - while there are many other cities and regions doing this, the model that best suits port moody is the one developed by the community.