The City of Port Moody is awaiting receipt of a developer’s pending plan to accomplish what the City has sought for many years: the construction of a noisy traffic corridor through the heart of tranquil, beautiful Bert Flinn Park, a designated nature park as well as the city’s largest park.
Join the thousands of TriCities residents who are pushing back to protect our local quality of life. Sign the petition below to demand that the Park be preserved as it is today: no traffic corridor through Bert Flinn!
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We organized one of Port Moody’s biggest-ever rallies at City Hall in June 2016, and then we filled the public gallery to capacity again with passionate Park supporters in September of that year, when PoMo’s City Council debated a motion to permanently remove the road right-of-way through Bert Flinn.
At that tense September meeting, the Council chose to postpone its vote on the motion until it had undertaken a broad study of other possible routes and transportation ideas for Port Moody’s north shore that could address the area’s growing traffic demands without compromising Bert Flinn. City Councillor Meghan Lahti vowed that the City “should leave no stone unturned until we find a better option.”
More than a year has passed since then, and the City’s study has gotten off to a very slow start: its completion date sometime in 2018 remains unclear. Meanwhile, the anticipated road through Bert Flinn remains on the books and on all city maps of the Park. Bert Flinn’s future remains very much at risk.
Help us press the City to get its much-delayed study of route alternatives completed this year, and then move decisively to keep cars forever out of Bert Flinn Park! Please add your support to the petition below.
BERT FLINN PARK TODAY
- Twenty years ago, the citizens of Port Moody B.C. fought city hall and aggressive developers by voting overwhelmingly to establish Bert Flinn Park (including its adjoining counterpart, Mossom Creek Park) in 311 acres of largely undisturbed mountainside forest.
- Today Bert Flinn is the city’s largest and most tranquil nature park, and supports a diverse ecosystem that includes bear, cougar, bobcat, deer, and wetland habitat for the the northwestern salamander and the red-legged frog, a species at risk.
- Most human activity in the Park is centered on an old, discontinued roadbed and a nature trail connected to it, which run through the heart of the Park. The roadbed and trail are used intensively by hikers, joggers, young families, kids walking to school, mountain bikers crisscrossing the Park’s meticulously crafted bike routes, and locals from five neighboring communities who walk their dogs along the roadbed’s popular off-leash zone.
- Unfortunately the Park’s tranquil character, intact habitat, and community uses may soon become a thing of the past. Even though Bert Flinn has always been enjoyed by users and treated by the City’s Parks department as a single, unified park, the old roadbed and central trail running through its heart were never formally included in the park lands, which are therefore split in half.
- The right-of-way traces the path that developers had originally envisioned as the main road that would transport new residents in and out of Neighborhoods 3 and 4, the suburban tract project that was shut down when Bert Flinn Park was created in its place. When first designing the Park, the City held aside this right-of-way in case the north shore might eventually need an alternate route to relieve traffic pressure along Ioco Road. (The City was careful not to ask the public’s opinion of this roadway when it sought referendum approval for Bert Flinn Park; voters were given no choice on that point.) Since the character and popularity of Bert Flinn Park remained undefined and unknown at the time this decision was made, the future possibility of adding a roadway across the Park did not seem untenable.
- Two decades have passed since then, and Bert Flinn has become a much-used and much-beloved nature park, for diverse reasons discussed elsewhere on this site. Yet now the City is seizing upon the right-of-way as a means of accommodating denser residential development on what were once industrial lands of the Imperial Oil Company at the western end of Ioco Road. Indeed, the City has demanded that the Park road be built as a precondition to its approval of any new development on Port Moody lands to the west of the Park.
- Apologists have argued that, because the road concept preceded the Park’s creation, and because the Park map originally made room for a road, this was all anticipated long ago, so nobody should be complaining today. But confused ideas originating in city hall don’t become viable simply because they were originated decades earlier, and this is the right time for Port Moody to rethink its old decision. The traffic-corridor-through-nature-park compromise may have sounded reasonable to city officials in theory, twenty years ago, but we can now see clearly that the Park route is a fundamentally unworkable proposition, a well-intended but misguided plan to make a single space serve two inherently incompatible functions, offering both a protected, tranquil getaway to Nature and a busy, dangerous roadway on top of each other. For our quiet forest reserve, this scheme spells disaster. And this is particularly regrettable, because the City has better transit ideas within reach.
- At the urging of some at City Hall, a developer from Hong Kong is making plans to finance and build a noisy, high-traffic corridor along that roadbed and trail, spanning the entire breadth of the Park. (See map.) Citing its own commissioned traffic study, the builder, Brilliant Circle Group (BCG), says it expects the new express route through the Park to be busy around the clock, absorbing almost all traffic to and from Belcarra and taking on roughly one-third of all the Anmore traffic that currently courses down Ioco Road and East Road combined. And by installing the traffic route atop the most-used activity corridor of today’s Park, the builder will severely disrupt Bert Flinn for other uses, spoiling the Park for future generations.
In response to growing press coverage about the expressed concerns of Park users, BCG has sought to mollify local residents. The builder now speaks of shifting the auto route through the Park so that the old roadbed could remain available as an off-leash area for dog walking (apparently they intend for the busy thoroughfare to run directly alongside the off-leash zone, which sounds neither safe nor appealing). The builder also suggests optimistically that installing some wildlife underpasses along the route would suffice to prevent roadkill. BCG continues to ignore the larger concern that installing a noisy, dangerous commuter’s conduit across the middle of Bert Flinn — on any central route — would fundamentally and forever compromise the Park’s tranquility, ecosystem, and enjoyment for other uses.
RUINING BERT FLINN PARK WILL NOT PREVENT TRAFFIC CONGESTION ON IOCO ROAD
- In theory, this so-called “David Avenue Extension” would be built to absorb growing traffic congestion from Anmore and from BCG’s coming residential development on the Park’s far side, located primarily in Anmore. Some hope the extension would also ease occasional summertime traffic congestion to Belcarra Beach and Buntzen Lake.
- Although the developer intends that the Park’s traffic corridor will prevent any further traffic increases on Ioco Road, this amounts to wishful thinking. Ioco Road is still likely to be the route of choice for a growing number of commuters along PoMo’s booming north shore.
- According to the builder’s own traffic study, 70% of Anmore commuters who currently choose Ioco Road would continue to do so, even if the Bert Flinn Park road gave them an alternative. In any case, BCG’s express intention is to replace any temporary reduction in traffic on Ioco Road that might result from the opening of a new Park road with a big influx of entirely new traffic from its own, pending Ioco Lands development. So in addition to the existing herd of Anmore commuters, Ioco Road residents can now expect an entirely new crowd of drivers racing to and from the relatively dense residential community with retail and other services and attractions that the builder has said it envisions developing at the west end of Ioco Road. For locals, this would be a lose-lose proposition.
- The high-traffic corridor through our Park would also require the extensive construction of a big auto bridge that would pass overhead quite near the Mossom Creek Salmon Hatchery. This bridge would cut into the Park’s pristine, fragile watershed, and it would turn the gorgeous Mossom Ravine into a messy, ugly construction site for years. As most bridges do sooner or later, this bridge would lead to substantial maintenance costs that the taxpayers of Port Moody and/or Anmore would have to shoulder. Make that a lose-lose-lose proposition for our community.
WITH THIS ROAD, THE CITY BETRAYS ITS LONGSTANDING PROMISE TO THE PUBLIC
- Perhaps most troubling of all, the City Council’s insistence on resurrecting long dormant plans for a road that would effectively ruin today’s Bert Flinn as a nature park amounts to an unforgivable betrayal of the understanding that the City reached with the public, back in the late Nineties, when the Park was established. At that time, City Hall secured the public’s support for its plan to dramatically increase the residential density of Port Moody’s downtown by promising, in return, to set aside the north shore’s Neighborhoods 3 and 4 — the area that would become Bert Flinn Park — and to permanently protect that green space from the ravages of development. As city councillor Meghan Lahti (who lobbied hard for this trade-off) explained to the TriCity News in 2015, “the process of concentrating density in Inlet Centre to free up space for Bert Flinn Park up on the mountain was controversial at the time but resulted in neighbourhoods that are widely acclaimed for their livability.”
- In the years since this trade-off of urban density for north shore green space was struck, Port Moody’s overall population has soared. Packed into just 26 square kilometers, Port Moody has one of the smallest footprints of any city in greater Vancouver, yet it has had one of the fastest population growth rates of any city in British Columbia. With 1,296 persons per square kilometer, PoMo’s residents are already 15% more tightly packed than its much larger neighbour Coquitlam; and, as the City’s own Parks & Recreation Plan has pointed out, Port Moody’s density now exceeds the average for Metro Vancouver (which is 855 persons/sq.km.) by more than 50%. Yet, apparently determined to crowd ever more people into our community, the City is now in danger of backsliding on its understanding with Port Moody’s citizens: evidently bent upon re-zoning the Ioco Lands for higher-density development, our City Council now seems sorely tempted to push through a disruptive traffic corridor that would devastate Bert Flinn Park, the very park it originally pledged to preserve.
JOIN THE PETITION TO SAVE OUR PARK
While we are not generally opposed to further development on the north shore, let us join together in preserving our most important nature reserves, such as Bert Flinn Park, as our communities grow around them. The reason why many of us choose to live here — and why demand for north shore homes is skyrocketing — is because of the natural paradise we enjoy so close at hand.
In her classic song, Joni Mitchell lamented how eager some people were to “pave paradise and put up a parking lot,” only to regret what they’ve lost in the end. Please sign our petition to tell city leaders that you support taking a more sensible approach to north shore development. Make clear that “paving paradise” in Bert Flinn Park to fill it with car traffic and tailpipe exhaust is absolutely the wrong way to grow our community.
PETITION: As TriCity residents, we enjoy Bert Flinn Park for diverse uses and seek to protect the Park’s serene beauty and undisturbed wildlife for future generations. We urge the municipal councils of Port Moody and Anmore to collaborate in protecting, to the fullest extent possible, the natural integrity and tranquil character of Bert Flinn Park and Mossom Creek Park. Specifically, we urge Port Moody to:
Suspend indefinitely any plans to build a busy roadway for car traffic through the Park and de-link any decision regarding the Ioco Lands development proposal from required construction of this road.
Immediately and permanently annex the Park’s old roadbed and fully incorporate it into the Park lands protected from further development.
Go back to the drawing board to find a less damaging solution that addresses traffic congestion to and from Anmore.
Yes, I support this petition!
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Thank you for supporting protection of Bert Flinn Park!
Next, please help us get the word out. Tell your friends, tweet, and share on Facebook.
Your SaveBertFlinnPark Organizers,
Hunter Madsen, Jeff Poste, Rebecca Helps, Marcus Madsen, Linda Hellman, Rob Collins, Cathy Morton, Ian Soutar, David Stuart, Emily Seto, Jennifer Yolland, and Sue Round.