It was disappointing not to say depressing to listen to Port Moody Council last Thursday. Not realizing perhaps that John Peller, a member of one of the City’s most historic families was in the room, a majority of Councillors repeatedly suggested that the genuine interest for an Evergreen station in West Port Moody was a self-serving project of his Andres winery business.
In the process, those same councillors told local citizens from all walks of life and with no connection whatsoever with Andres Wines that West Port Moody is more or less fine as it is, a run down backwater of dormant, dangerous or dilapidated industrial sites, plus a village of struggling shopkeepers.
For most of these people and for all of those who spoke at the Council meeting, an Evergreen Line station in West Port Moody means much more than anything to do with Andres Wines. It means not only a fair allocation of transit benefits to western residents, it represents the best chance for revitalizing Moody Centre that the City has seen for years.
The fact that the old Andres Wines site is one of the larger properties at the heart of this opportunity is incidental to most of these concerned citizens who wanted something different for this part of town, something that might spur the much talked about economic development. But it brings home the irony of the Council’s decision to support a transit station at the West Coast Express rather than close to the Barnet Highway where it makes so much more sense and would do far more good.
The irony is that Andres Wines did so much good for so long in this community, from payrolls to taxes, to donations and sponsorships. I’ve only lived in the Tri-Cities since 1989, but in 1991-3 while I was President of the Arts Council we always knew who we could count on for supporting Port Moody Arts.
Now, when its property could trigger a new and needed evolution for this community, the opportunity for progress is viewed by most councillors as overambitious and unwelcome.
Where is the vision of John Peller’s grandfather who founded Andres Wines in Port Moody more than 50 years ago? Don’t bother to look for it at City Hall.