A production company has been given special permission to film in Osprey Village and South Bonson, lifting a moratorium that has been in place since 2016.
Limetown Productions offered $200,000 to the City of Pitt Meadows and an extra $50,000 to affected businesses and residents for ten days of filming in Osprey Village and the South Bonson area starting in September.
In 2016, South Bonson was designated a hot spot where filming was allowed only under certain conditions. Any parking having a negative impact on traffic flows was prohibited, parking was limited to occupy half a block or less, private driveway rentals were encouraged and permitted at the owner’s discretion, notification area was to be determined by the city, filming was limited to a maximum of three days on the same street within a 90-day period, the use of local businesses was encouraged, no filming involving lights in the evening was permitted and no filming on the weekends and statutory holidays.
This “cooling off” period was meant to be temporary and was up for review this fall and every five years thereafter.
Currently, there is a complete moratorium on filming in Osprey Village due to complaints after a number of movies were shot at the location that residents and business owners say had a negative impact on the neighbourhood.
Residents complained that garbage was left behind, and there was too much noise and disruption to the area.
A review of the moratorium was supposed to take place in the spring and every three years thereafter, but it was deferred until the fall to ensure a consistent process for both reviews to be completed at the same time.
At the July 10 council meeting Mayor Becker asked Susann Sigmund, the arts and cultural services coordinator with the city, at what point the production company would have to go some place else because they need certainty about the filming location.
Sigmund replied that the production company had to make decisions on location quickly because the company has already filmed four episodes of the script and will have to go back and change the script if the upcoming film location changes.
“Certainly I would think that telling these folks to wait until a few weeks before they anticipate starting filming for us to make a decision is going to be problematic,” noted Mayor John Becker.
Eric and Lori Muller own Sole Experience in Osprey Village and are in favour of filming. They said they understand that there will probably be some inconveniences, but are willing to see how their business would be impacted, the biggest concerns being accessibility for customers and parking.
“We don’t mind filming as long as it doesn’t impact the business financially,” said Lori Muller.
“If people are not able to come in and we’re not able to make sales or have our runners come in and run, that’s a problem.”
She added the couple is lucky that they can talk to their customers and run groups and meet somewhere else if they had to.
“There are events here all the time and parking’s a premium,” said Eric Muller.
The Mullers had a film company take over their own home and say the experience was fantastic.
“They compensated us well and we got to watch the filming,” said Lori Muller.
The Mullers say that there has to be communication between the film company and the people affected because Osprey Village is a “great little gem” that people like to visit.
Ariane Jaschke, owner of Capture Studios, and who is also running for Pitt Meadows council, is also in favour with filming in the community, but said her business does not rely on walk-by traffic.
“I have appointment only and if I know there is going to be filming, chances are I will make sure I will work it around the filming,” said Jaschke.
She is worried that it will be difficult to distribute the $50,000 among the businesses and two stratas in the village.
“If we divided that, it’s less than $1,000 a person or a business. Obviously, there needs to be more compensation for businesses as opposed to residents because they come in from the back.”
Jaschke added that payments have to be fair depending on how businesses are individually affected by filming, such as whether film crews use the inside of a particular business or if a business is dependent on walk-in traffic.
Jaschke would like to see money go towards the upkeep of buildings in the village.
“We have to repaint our buildings, we have to do all these things that they forget about just because they want to use this. The gardening, we pay for all the gardening. All these little things that I think would be really great to be compensated to the strata as a whole,” Jaschke added.
Anahi English, owner and head chef at Stomping Grounds at the south end of Osprey Village, was more hesitant about the lifting of the moratorium because, for her, before it was put in place, she had a series of bad experiences.
“I remember here one summer it was Christmas here all summer. It got to the point where it was a lot,” she said.
English’s restaurant has been a fixture in Osprey Village for eight years and is heavily dependent on foot traffic.
“If the street is closed down sometimes, the movies would say, ‘Well, we’ll just pay her what she would have made in a day.’ But I didn’t open the cafe for movies. I opened the cafe for the customers who walk by. So I lose faith with my customers,” said English.
Having said that, English open to a review of the policy and to meeting with the film company to hear what the company has to say.
“I hope that things are different than they were like two years ago,” said English.
“As long as those reasons are addressed, which it sounds like the city wants to do, and they want to keep those things in mind, then all we can do is hope that it’s a positive experience,” she added.
Sigmund says the city has received compensation payments from film production companies in the past, but this is one of the larger amounts.
Those payments, she said, are all relative to the size of the film and size of the company.
“This is what staff have negotiated so far with the production company. We still have to sit down and work through all the terms and conditions,” said Sigmund.
The funds will be used for any community benefit that council sees fit and may be used to support opportunities for arts and cultural events, activities, or other benefits to the community.
Osprey Village business owners are expecting to hear from Limetown Productions representatives soon about the filming.
The production is based on a popular podcast about a fictional town where 300 people mysteriously disappear from a Tennessee neurological facility.