Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is your position on Port Moody as "City of the Arts" and Kyle Centre?
2. What is your position on the proposed development of Coronation Park?
3. What can be done about all the traffic? Won't development make it worse?
4. How do you see the City contributig to the growth and preservation of our collective heritage?
5. Port Moody has lost its way in managing our fiscal future. How do you propose we get back on track?
Scroll down for my answers.
I encourage local residents and businesses to reach out with any questions they may have about my platform.
On this page, I'll answer some of the great questions I've received.
1. Port Moody as City of the Arts
Q: How will you help to strengthen the positioning of "City of the Arts" so we can build a stronger, more engaged, and connected community? How do you do envision a City of the Arts and what does a City of Arts look like? How does Kyle Centre fit in?
A: This is a great question. What I've been hearing from a few residents is that our arts community is currently disjointed and unfocused. A City of the Arts should be inclusive and broad so that all residents, businesses and taxpayers will WANT to get behind it.
We celebrate local artists of all genres with our unique "Art at Council" every Port Moody Council meeting. Local artists are invited to bring and present their works, as well as discuss their inspirations and process. This is an excellent opportunity not afforded to many other artists and I'm proud that Port Moody sets this time aside to appreciate our local talent. That being said, we can do much more to support our Arts community.
I grew up in a small town where art programs were sorely lacking. Today, my eldest daughter (10) participates and performs in musical theatre productions all year long thanks to the fabulous Theatrix program, based in Coquitlam. My youngest (8) just finished a pottery class at Kyle Centre through PoMo Arts, and I am currently seeking ukelele and/or piano lessons for them both beginning this fall (if you have any leads!) Study after study shows the benefits of arts education for youths, ranging from academic success to increased tolerance and compassion for others.
The PoMo Arts Centre, while excellent, is currently only able to service and support a small slice of arts programming in our city. Arts can be and should be for everyone - from fine artists, to culinary arts, to brewmasters, to photography, spoken word, music, dance and heritage storytelling, for example. Further, city funding to arts programs should be applied fairly and consistently across all programming.
I believe Port Moody should do more for the performing arts, specifically in providing practice/rehearsal spaces and in allowing the use of Inlet Theatre at a discount or, ideally, free of charge for local artists. In fact, I would support moving City Council meetings to another location to free up this space for local artists.
I spoke at Council in March of 2022 about the idea of establishing an Arts Precinct around the current PoMo Arts Centre/Kyle Centre. The land surrounding the current Kyle Centre is coming under development and in fact, the City recently put out an RFQ seeking expressions of interest. Council is currently considering basic, stop-gap repairs on Kyle Centre which are projected to cost at least $2.5 million (supported by Councillor Milani), but I would prefer to see the revitalization of Kyle Centre as part of a larger development that could include PoMo Arts, Kyle Centre, a public plaza, artists' studios and more - and the successful developer could pick up the tab!
Port Moody receives a lot of money from developers by the way of CACs, and a specific portion of that is earmarked directly to the "Arts" (usually in the way of a public art piece at the development or an inkind cash donation). As an example, Marcon's recent George development alone provided $700,000 to the city for "Arts", and was spent on a playground with an art component.
I would be in favour of setting up an Arts Fund/Foundation to instead redirect these CAC funds to our arts community for use as they see fit. This would mean no more "public art" per se (we currently have 85 pieces throughout the City). All monies would be collected into the fund and then spent collectively on art projects whether on artist residences, minimal cost art studio rentals, festivals, art scholarships, etc. The list of possibilities is endless.
Think about what our city could do to enhance City of the Arts without ever taking money from taxpayers! - July 24, 2022
2. Coronation Park Development
Q: What is your position on the proposed development of Coronation Park? Councillors Madsen, Milani and Lubik have all voted against it many times and I want to know how you will vote.
A: I'm grateful for such an important (and for me, easy) question! I have spoken in favor of Coronation Park residents multiple times, and specifically in favor of the project currently being proposed by Wesgroup at City Council public input on Nov 23 and Dec 7 of 2021, as well as at public input on April 26 and July 19, 2022.
I think it is beyond reprehensible that Councillors Madsen and Milani wrote a letter to Coronation Park residents promising them that they would expedite development in exchange for votes before the last election in 2018. In fact, since then, they have done nothing but stall, delay and downright block the project at the expense of residents who have been waiting for years for closure regarding their properties. Living in limbo is terrible for families and planning for the future.
I am not in favour of towers throughout Port Moody, but I *do* believe that Coronation Park (located within walking distance of both Newport and Suterbrook retail centres and right across from the Inlet Skytrain!) is the perfect location for this sort of planned community with a mix of housing (including towers). Transit-oriented development makes the most sense to get residents out of their cars while maintaining our committments to regional growth.
I have reviewed the traffic study (begins at page 504 here) and plans for Coronation Park in depth (begins at page 399 here), and I hope the next Council stops playing games and moves forward with Wesgroup without further changing the goalposts and making it difficult for the developer to do its job. Constant delays and changes just drive up costs for future residents, and none of us want that. As a single mom lucky enough to be living in Port Moody, I want to make homes ACCESSIBLE to others who want to live here. Not keep them out. - August 1, 2022
A video clip of me speaking at Council public input on April 26, 2022, correcting Councillor Madsen's misrepresentation of the traffic study completed for Coronation Park:
3. Traffic in Port Moody - Thinking Forward
Q: What can be done about all the traffic? Won't development make it worse?
A: Traffic is one of those things that makes everyone unhappy, and quite frankly, Port Moody’s geographical location between growing communities to the east and Vancouver/Burnaby to the west means that we are in the unfortunate position of absorbing much of that east-west through traffic on our streets (this is called “passby traffic”). Until 1999, St. Johns Street and Barnet Highway were part of Highway 7A which connected Downtown Vancouver to the existing Highway 7, which further established Port Moody as a key transportation route in the Lower Mainland.
Port Moody’s Citizen Survey results released in mid-July showed clearly that residents are concerned about traffic. In fact, “desired service improvements” was the #2 concern of residents and “transportation” ranked as the most important local issue facing Port Moody. Importantly, 32% of residents say quality of life has worsened, with the number one reason for that being traffic.
So, what can Council do about it? These are my thoughts.
𝐓𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐭 𝐎𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐃𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐩𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 (𝐓𝐎𝐃)
Most traffic in Port Moody is passby. This has been documented by TransLink data collection both before and after the Skytrain came through in late 2016. That being said, transportation professionals are reporting changing traffic patterns since COVID. These changes include an increase in driving children to schools and an increase in mid-day errands by people who work from home.
As drivers, most of us make route choices based primarily on travel time. If drivers from communities around us perceive Port Moody as a good shortcut route, they will take it. Adding density along St. Johns will actually have the effect of REDUCING passby traffic because it INCREASES local traffic. As city centres become busier hubs with more residents, traffic lights, crosswalks, local businesses, and dedicated bike lanes, their main through roads become unattractive to commuters and passby traffic is forced to find new east-west routes. So, while it may seem counterintuitive at first, densifying around our SkyTrain station will likely have the knock-on effect of creating a more local, close-knit Port Moody. And the traffic will be all ours!
The Trip Generation Manual used by transportation engineers tells us that single family detached dwellings generate 1 vehicle trip per dwelling unit during peak hours while a condominium dwelling unit in a dense urban area only generates 0.2 trips during the same peak hours. Consistent ICBC data and Metro Vancouver traffic studies tell us vehicle ownership in buildings beside Skytrain is ALWAYS lower than other dwellings (see pages 78-104).
Many developments now include car-share services with designated spots to further reduce the need for vehicle ownership for those living adjacent to Transit. This is good for traffic AND good for the environment.
Lastly, well-planned TODs and mixed-use developments result in “internal traffic capture”, meaning they actually eliminate traffic that would otherwise be present due to proximity to services like grocery, dentistry, pet care, etc. (Suterbrook is a perfect example of this). And let’s not forget that TODs present so many opportunities for added community benefits including local job space, green space, and funding for recreation, arts, and amenities.
𝐈𝐧𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬
We cannot control development outside our boundaries, but we CAN choose to have good working relationships with neighbouring municipalities to address common problems. The last four years witnessed a complete breakdown of this process, and it must be repaired. A perfect example of this is proposed developments in Anmore which will 100% affect traffic in Port Moody, leaving residents in Pleasantside to just “suck it up”. It is better to work WITH stakeholders (the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, TransLink, car sharing businesses, non-profit advocacy groups such as Hub cycling, community associations, local developers and more) in good faith to come up with solutions for the benefit of all residents.
Without this collaborative work, passby traffic will only worsen. Limiting local development isn’t a long-term solution to the traffic problem.
There is an expression that goes something like “I am traffic and traffic is me”. In other words, if I’m sitting in traffic complaining about it, I’m part of the problem! So, while governments, transit and developers work on the problems of community building and connection, remember that as residents, you can be part of the solution:
Stop driving your children to school where an alternative mode exists
Take advantage of work-from-home opportunities where possible
Shop locally – shopping locally is good for local businesses AND reduces overall traffic
When possible, plan your work commute and personal errands during off-peak times
I recognize that not all people can stay out of their vehicles 100% of the time, and I am certainly one of those people. I drive to Costco and Superstore, I drive my girls to their activities in other communities, and I sometimes drive to work when I can’t work from home. But small, thoughtful changes can absolutely make a difference.
I realize these are not “easy” or “ideal” solutions, but I’m not running on easy or ideal. Work needs to be done with neighboring communities, transit stakeholders, and even developers. We need to be realistic about how to achieve the Port Moody we want, while keeping our cozy, small town charm. For me, that means drastically reducing passby traffic. Contrary to what others might want you to believe, I promise no one is advocating for a “wall of towers” along St. Johns (or anywhere else in Port Moody) and I implore you not to let insincere and disingenuous attempts to stoke fear of “Metrotownification” or “Brentwoodification” convince you otherwise. TOD can and should be done WELL, for the benefit of us all. - August 12, 2022
4. Port Moody Heritage Matters
Q: How do you see the City contributing to the growth and preservation of our collective heritage?
A: Great question. First of all, if you're not already a member of our excellent Port Moody Heritage Society, you can sign up here for only $10 per individual and $15 per family!
First and foremost, we need to get Heritage added into the City Strategic Plan.
Our original downtown (Clarke St.) is sadly lacking in tender loving care. It's dark and closed in the evenings, dirty, ignored. The City could absolutely be investing funds to help re-invigorate the area, ideally working with our local businesses to beautify their storefronts. The area could most certainly be improved with basic TLC including Heritage banners and improved lighting.
Ioco - we should start to rebuild the relationship with the owners of the townsite and with Imperial Oil to start a path forward to ensure any development on those lands includes consideration of Heritage, and certainly a Heritage Centre.
We should fix the small lot subdivision bylaw in Moody Centre to encourage front/back divisions on properties that qualify. This way we could add additional businesses and homes while retaining the heritage representation.
We should absolutely work with the Port Moody Heritage Society and SD43 to strongly encourage participation in the BC Heritage Fair - let's get our young people interested in heritage! - September 19, 2022
5. Improving our Financial Position
Q: Port Moody has lost its way in managing our fiscal future. How do you propose we get back on track?
A. This is one of my key platform goals. Watching Port Moody dig itself deeper over the last term, without any attempts to right the ship, has been difficult.
I believe there is a lot of "low hanging fruit" where we could cut costs, and I personally am not in favour of service cutbacks or tax increases. We need to look at all other avenues for savings before either should be considered.
Certainly, the overuse of consultants, the number of personal agenda-driven reports generated by key councillors, and staff overtime costs should all be immediately targeted for reduction.
My position is we need to think more creatively and critically. So for example, instead of spending nearly $3M on Kyle Centre repairs, we should be spending the bare minimum to get it through the winter before combining it and the adjacent city lands as a package for redevelopment. I really want to turn that land into an Arts and City precinct, and let the developer pick up the tab for it.
I also want to put a concerted effort into securing a heavy industrial tenant for the Burrard Thermal lands. Unfortunately, our tax rates for these businesses are very high compared to other muncipalities, so I would like to consider business tax cuts for new such anchor tenants as a means of enticing them to Port Moody. The loss of heavy industrial taxes from Burrard Thermal and Flavelle have meant that the tax burden has shifted unduly onto residents.
While I appreciate that certain candidates have suggested bringing tech businesses to Port Moody, I've seen no rational or meaningful work done on this in the last four years, nor any reasonable or meaningful plans to do this in the next four beyond vague wishlists.
Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) - I'm in favour of moving to a consistent contribution model for developers, and adjusting those fees upwards to a more reasonable level. Moving forward with TOD will bring in density bonus money that smaller developments have not, and will also bring in additional residential tax payers to share the burden.
While out door knocking last week, I met a family who moved last year from a single detached home to a townhouse in Port Moody. They were upset to find out that their taxes in PoMo are TWICE what they paid in Burnaby. Honestly, it's unacceptable. We need to work harder to keep our homes actually affordable as taxes increase the burden on owners AND renters. As a single mom paying all my own bills for the last 4.5 years, the steady tax increases have been tough to absorb. I've included below a couple of graphs showing the growing tax burden problem here in our community, particularly as compared to other Metro Vancouver cities. (All chart data sourced here)
I am also in favour of finding creative solutions to otherwise "assumed" costs. For example, we can reduce the costs to maintain boulevards and city land by growing low maintenance wildflowers instead of grass. We can also work more cooperatively with local, grass-roots organizations on city events to minimize the work of city staff.
Council and Mayoral candidates should be able to demonstrate basic financial literacy, even if that requires a crash course before governing begins.
More than anything, I want to see Port Moody start to live within its means - I haven't seen this rigor mentioned by several candidates. This means not spending millions of dollars on land acquisition, but rather making use of and activating the resources we DO have at our disposal. Repairing our relationships with regional partners and neighbouring muncipalities for regional solutions and shared costs is much needed.
I'd love to hear any other thoughts residents have for improving our situation without compromising services or raising taxes! - September 19, 2022