Meghan 'cut her teeth' in municipal politics in 1994 by getting involved with the fight to stop the development of a large forested area on Port Moody's north shore known as 'Neighbourhoods 3 & 4'. The plans for this massive development included two separate neighbourhood areas separated by a provincial right of way. This right of way, the David Pathan Way extension, was meant to service the areas of Anmore, Belcarra and Ioco Townsite.
As she worked on this initiative, information was gathered which showed that a large wetland was located in one of the 'neighbourhoods', as well as other geological and environmentally significant findings. Meghan and her group - Concerned Citizens of Port Moody - gathered information and support. Meghan's group gained support from David Suzuki, and the Western Wilderness Committee. Through Meghan's efforts a large rally was held in Port Moody in which David Suzuki was the featured speaker. There were publications and articles following their group.
The first public hearing for Neighbourhoods 3 & 4 was in December 1995, which lasted until after 12:00 am, and was 'held over' to the new year. The completion of the public hearing in January 1996 resulted in another unprecedented meeting finishing after 3:00 am. All told, over 1000 people attended these meetings. Despite the opposition from the community of Port Moody, the council of the day voted to proceed with the readings of the bylaws.
Meghan and two other members of the group - Rob Fenger and Kathleen Thompson, ran in the 1996 election. Meghan topping the polls and Rob Fenger was also elected. At one of the first meetings of the new council, Meghan moved the motion to rescind the bylaws for Neighbourhoods 3 & 4. In June 1999 Meghan moved the motion to put the land, formerly known as Neighbourhoods 3 & 4, to a park dedication referendum.
The decision to go to referendum was not a simple one. There were many in the community who were concerned about the financial losses that the city had sustained through a failed development, several years earlier that had nearly bankrupted the City, known as Barbican. In addition many in the community had determined that retention of the road right of way was essential for providing the regionally planned for access to Anmore and Belcarra, and GVRD areas. A decision was made to effectually create two park dedications on either side of the right of way, to preserve this regional transportation route for the future. This was articulated in the Official Community Plan at the time of dedication.
The election of 1999 saw Meghan top the polls once again and also saw the park dedication passed. One of the first tasks of the new council was to formally dedicate these lands as a park. After a formal process with community input council named the park 'Bert Flinn Park'.
Meghan is in the Park several times a week, walking her dogs and hiking with friends. She is proud of the work she and countless other dedicated residents did to preserve this park and recognizes its importance to the people of Port Moody.
To learn about Meghan's perspective on the recent decision to reconfirm the ROW through Bert Flinn Park click below ~
Councillor Meghan Lahti