Port Moody says no to 'big box' daycare

PoMo council voted against third reading of a bylaw that would have permitted a daycare at the new building in Onni
PoMo council voted against third reading of a bylaw that would have permitted a daycare at the new building in Onni's Suter Brook development.
— image credit: FILE PHOTO

A bid to put a large daycare in a new office building being built at Suter Brook was shot down Tuesday by Port Moody council.

Onni was applying for a land use contract amendment that would have allowed the second floor of a building at 220 Brew St. to be used for a daycare for up to 170 kids. Brendan Yee, development manager for Onni, said the company was close to signing a 15-year lease, with an option to extend for five years, with Kids and Company, a national corporate-owned daycare operator.

Traffic and parking issues, however, swayed council against approving the amendment.

Several Suter Brook residents spoke up at the public hearing, mainly to rail against Onni for not adequately enforcing parking regulations (Suter Brook streets are deemed strata lanes, over which the city holds no authority) against drivers who park the wrong way, on the sidewalks and in loading zones.

Most residents said they didn't want to see the extra traffic that would come with a large daycare operation.

But a few residents said they support the proposal — as well as many more who wrote to council — noting most daycare spots would be snapped up by families living in Suter Brook and Klahanie as well as the office workers who would be using the new building, and wouldn't generate much new traffic.

One speaker noted that attracting big-name anchor tenants to the building wouldn't happen without amenities like a large daycare.

Most council members, however, couldn't get past the traffic complaints or the spectre of a "big-box daycare."

"Maybe there's not an adequate parking management plan," Coun. Rick Glumac said of the proposal. "Maybe if Onni had an opportunity to flush that out this might be a more palatable proposal."

But Mayor Mike Clay expressed his frustration over the traffic and parking complaints, noting the Suter Brook master plan originally called for a hotel on that site, "which would have created infinitely more traffic than this."

Clay said the issues were being exaggerated and the new building will inevitably create traffic and parking issues regardless of the tenants.

"We have a demand for daycare and it's a great use for the building," he said.

A motion to not proceed with third reading of the bylaw amendment passed, with Clay and Coun. Zoe Royer voting against it.


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