Ask Sam

Got a question regarding Sam’s key issues? Read below for answers to common questions.

Questions about Development: Moody TOD, Oceanfront, etc

If the Moody Centre TOD project came forward as it is currently presented by the developer group, how would I vote?

In principle, I agree with the general plan for this area. While there has been significant work done already to get to this point, before moving further we need to complete and finalize the Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment process and review – this will save everyone time and effort in the long run. There are still many details to be worked out before we get to a point where approval of the final plan could happen.

Through the OCP, Council and residents can set a clear vision for the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) project, including a discussion of where to put density, tower heights and amenities needed. Negotiations with the consortium will need to happen to ensure that the community amenities contribution is what the City needs and wants, and the City needs to work with other levels of government and partners to ensure that affordable housing is truly affordable. To be clear, I think there are a lot of great things included in the application as of April 2021 including social and environmental sustainability design principles and climate action commitments. 

City needs and wants should be clearly defined and outlined through the OCP, guiding principles such as the Sustainabilty Checklist and other metrics (e.g. % open space, jobs, affordable housing, etc.) at the start of the development process. Council should strive to make this process efficient and results oriented.

The Port Moody Climate Emergency states “to have 90% of all new residents live in an easy walk of their daily needs”. I support the idea that we need to build a complete community in Moody TOD. By “complete” I mean a community where residents’ daily needs are met – groceries and other essentials, social spaces, workplaces etc. If we want to reduce our GHG emissions, then one of the best ways to do this is through infill development. Moody TOD is an opportunity to create a very liveable community that has access to rail, bus and Skytrain.

Additionally, building here does not mean a net loss of green space, rather there is the potential to gain some neighbourhood parks and daylighting of Dallas Creek, which is more than the current use offers. Green space is an important element contributing to livability of a city and that it’s important to me that we ensure a balance between density/population growth and access to green space – especially at the neighbourhood level (Vienna is a great example of incorporating green/open space in high density areas).

There is a lot of discussion on tower heights in this area but I feel we need to keep in mind the footprint of buildings and the area that shorter but longer buildings take on a site. If we wish to include buildings and land use types that encourage economic development while creating places to live and outside spaces to enjoy, we will need to discuss trade-offs as a community.

This is not a black and white issue. It cannot be boiled down to a question of towers or no towers if we truly want to achieve livability in this area. I believe through thoughtful dialogue, collaboration/brainstorming and understanding, we can arrive at a solution that ultimately best serves our city and its current and future residents and businesses.

But to get there, we all need to understand our own biases and commit to civil dialogue before coming to the table. “Thoughtful” collaboration can not come at the expense of efficiency and drawn out decision making processes. It’s important that these conversations lead to effective and clear decision making mechanisms so that projects can move forward in a timely manner.

We need to think outside the box while considering future generations.

Note: the affordable housing issue will not be solved by cities acting alone. Land costs, construction costs, lack of availability, and more all contribute to this issue. We need partnerships with provincial and federal governments to ensure the supply of affordable and accessible housing.

Full disclosure: My family business leases property in the Moody TOD. I have concerns about business displacement and continuity that are informed by my experiences. Due to this potential conflict of interest, it is unlikely that I would participate in the approval process of Moody TOD development. 

If the Oceanfront project came forward for rezoning as it is currently presented in the OCP, how would I vote?

In principle, I agree with the general plan for this area. There are still many details to be worked out before we get to a point where approval of the final plan (and built form) could happen.

Please see the previous question on Moody TOD for more details and thoughts.

 

Do I support the Woodland Park redevelopment project as it was approved by the current Council?

Yes, though I think this process should have been faster. When there are development proposals for existing residential or business areas, Council should endeavour to move as quickly and thoughtfully as possible. These processes are slow in nature but Council should not be the roadblock to a smooth process. We must remember the real human impacts of these processes.

 

The Role of Arts in our City

How do I envision a City of the Arts and what does a City of Arts look like?

Ideally, a City of the Arts, such as ours is named, supports and encourages the growth of the arts community. I see the city playing a role in this through policy (inclusion of public art in new and existing community spaces), identifying physical areas for the display of art, especially in any future developments, and spaces that lend themselves to the creation of art (music, performance, painting, mixed media, writing, etc), the development of programs that encourage involvement from the community in the creation of art (similar to the banner contest that was open to residents of all ages in 2019), and hosting events to showcase local talent.

As I don’t count myself among artists, I would look to work with artist groups, such as the Port Moody Arts and Culture Committee, to fully understand the needs of this part of our community and ensure that these needs are heard.

I think we have an amazing opportunity to revitalize existing spaces with art and create new opportunities for inviting and beautiful spaces as our community grows through the use of art and design. We also have the opportunity to ensure spaces for writers, makers, fabricators and artists* are accessible and affordable while noting that loft-style spaces are not the solution for everyone.

*Different forms of art have different needs. E.g.musicians need different things compared to writers. We need to consider this in all future conversations.

 

How does a City of the Arts support the makers and artists? How do we cultivate a vibrant culture that not only attracts artistic practice but allows artists to thrive?

I think the Arts and Culture Committee is a great resource and the Arts & Culture Master Plan is a good place to start. It seems to be a fairly comprehensive plan overall, and one that could guide future policy and program development. 

I don’t have all answers but I do have ideas and a desire to work with the arts community to support and understand the needs. To me, support means a variety of things – from providing studio space in public buildings, space to display and sell, and policy, events and programs that help make art accessible to the general public (like Actions 3.3.2, 3.3.3 and 3.3.5 in the Strategic Plan). But all the best plans mean nothing without implementation.

I think if we can implement the Master Plan fully, it would go a long way to helping artists thrive in our community (along with affordable living and working spaces).

 

What are my thoughts on our light industrial zoned area? Do I think it is essential for a thriving creative city?

Here is a link to what I think about industrial land: https://samantha-agtarap.ca/key-issues/ (scroll down to Economic Development).

I am also concerned about the loss of light industrial land. It is irreplaceable and a valuable asset to our city, and the region. In my opinion, we need to build communities that are inviting, functional and aesthetically pleasing. We need to preserve light industrial zoning while being creative with land use (e.g. CD83 zoning) and ensure access to an affordable studio or shop spaces. Our neighbourhoods also need to be walkable and easily accessible without using a vehicle. A walkable community has many benefits.

A vibrant and thriving arts and culture community would be an asset to our community – by attracting people to visit our city, enriching residents’ lives and supporting our local economy. Additionally, by striving for affordable and available light industrial space we can help to foster a thriving arts and culture community, alongside other businesses.

In summary: I’d like to ensure we retain our light industrial lands, create walkable communities and support the arts through the development (and retention) of spaces that contribute to residents’ social and cultural lives.

 

Parks

Would you support expanding Rocky Point onto the mill site if it meant a minor tax increase?

If yes, would you still vote yes if the tax increase was modest? If yes to either, how big of an expansion would you fight for (in terms of % of the site up from the ocean)?

No, I do not support expanding Rocky Point Park to the mill site at taxpayer expense. The Flavelle / Oceanfront redevelopment represents an opportunity for the expansion of the Shoreline trail with additional green space/park through negotiations with the developer, without the added expense of purchasing land. This expansion would meet recommendation 4.2.11* of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

*Recommendation 4.2.11  Work towards continuous waterfront parkland on the south shore, expanding parkland west of Rocky Point Park as development occurs (page 54).

 

Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs)

Context

In 2019, the City started the engagement process to review and update the Environmentally Sensitive Areas Management Strategy. The consultation started with the Environmental Protection Committee in 2019 and went to public consultation in 2021. In May 2021, Council cancelled the proposed update and asked staff to provide recommendations on a revised direction and scope of work.

 

How do I feel about the ESAs? Would I vote for or against them? If I could change it, what would it look like to me?

In principle, I support the protection of the environment and environmentally sensitive areas (marine, riparian and forest). These areas are invaluable for ecological diversity and the protection of habitat. As the climate changes, these areas will be beneficial to our community by providing a buffer from sea level rise, providing shade and a host of other benefits.

The feedback was primarily concerned with the impacts the proposed changes would have on existing homes/dwellings and the ability to make changes to the property. There also seemed to be a misunderstanding about the ESA allowing the property to be expropriated – it does not. As an owner of a strata property that borders a riparian area and would potentially be affected by the proposed changes, I understand the concern. 

Unfortunately, the lack of clarity appears to have caused the city to go back to the drawing board. Clear communications to all property owners that would be affected by any changes, along with examples, would help the community understand the outcomes of these changes and limit misunderstanding of the purpose. This would allow the city to move forward with modernizing the bylaw, address changes in provincial and federal regulations and respond to the concerns of residents. In addition, ensuring that the mandate and limits of the ESA are clearly laid out and made publicly available could help ease tensions and lay to rest any uncertainties. 

In my opinion, the city must balance the goals of environmental protection against any detrimental, though unintended effects on properties with existing structures.

 

Miscellaneous

Why am I running for Council?

There are a number of reasons but the short answer is I wanted change. I wanted a change in the tone of discussion at Council meetings and in the community.

I also think that I have a work and life background that would be useful in a Council position. I want to be a positive role model for my daughters and do something positive for my community.

There are many issues that need our attention — from climate change and  affordable housing to supporting a strong and vibrant local economy and ensuring our community is inclusive. There is a lot of work to do and I am excited to get started and help to facilitate real change.

Ultimately, I think each generation has a responsibility to learn from the previous generations and leave the world a better place than they found it.

 

Will I accept donations from people related to special interests?

Note: BC Election rules state that campaign contributions can only be made if a resident is from B.C., and is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Organizations, including businesses and unions, cannot make campaign contributions or reimburse individuals for making campaign contributions.

I am accepting donations from individuals who feel their views align with mine. See donor list here.

Unfortunately, election campaigns require money and candidates need funding for (not an exhaustive list):

  • Printing and mailing to ensure we reach the majority of residents, especially those that don’t use the internet or social media;
  • Website (hosting, design and maintenance);
  • Events; and
  • Advertising including signs, newspaper and online.

Donation rules limit the amount one individual can make to $1,250. Candidates, if not supported by an elector group, can contribute up to $2,500 of their own money.

This system benefits individuals that have spare cash, connections, and wealthy friends and family. The system does not encourage youth or low/moderate income residents to become candidates. Participation across all groups, all backgrounds, and all experiences, is what we need to ensure our democracy remains healthy.

As with many existing systems, it creates barriers to widespread participation. Our city would be better served if we had more diversity on the council.

Even if a candidate could afford to self-fund, printing costs alone exceed the maximum contribution a candidate can make to their own campaign.

No candidate can do it alone; we all rely on the generosity of our community.

Please consider donating via eTransfer (preferred), cheque, cash or the PayPal fundraiser. For cheque or cash donations, please send Celia an email.

 

More answers coming soon…

Thanks for your patience. I am doing some editing and will post more here soon. If you have a question, send me an email using the form below.

 

 

Let’s stay in touch

Questions for me? Or interested in hosting a small get-together and chatting about the future of Port Moody? Send me a note.

 

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