Port Moody Gets More Affordable Housing After 30 Years
New development aims to have 50 affordable units
Reported by Perrin Grauer
Housing advocates are thrilled at Port Moody city council’s approval of a development that will bring new affordable rental apartments to the city for the first time in three decades.
Stephen Bennett, CEO of Affordable Housing Societies, said the 50 affordable units would be a welcome addition to Metro Vancouver’s housing supply, given the severity of the housing crisis facing Metro Vancouver.
Off to a good start
“It’s awesome that they started with 50,” Bennett said.
“I would hope that as time progresses they would add more because they’re certainly going to need them, but 50 is a great start.”
However, the approval came after a heated, four-hour public hearing last week, during which community opposition to the proposal was fierce.
Rent increased by 11 per cent
The region’s average vacancy rates have hovered below one per cent for years, while in the Port Moody area, rent increased by an average of 11 per cent in the past twelve months.
The development that was approved represents the last phase of the Suter Brook master-planned community, designed by Onni Group — one of the region’s biggest development companies.
Residents raise concerns
Dozens of Suter Brook residents raised concerns that packing more people into their neighbourhood would increase traffic and put stress on city amenities like the library and recreation centre.
The original proposal for the site included 1,250 units in two six-storey buildings and one 26-storey tower, the final proposal — tabled last November — included an amendment to add 222 units to the total, offering the city an extra $15 million in “density bonus payments,” along with 26 standard rental apartments, and 50 affordable units.
Chris Staddon, a Port Moody resident and member of the community planning advisory committee, worried the move would have an unhealthy precedent for future proposals.
But Jeff McLellan, another Port Moody resident and also a member of the community planning advisory committee, argued the Onni’s inclusion of affordable apartments and a $15-million bonus meant Port Moody was getting a good bargain for a small increase in density.