Onni’s Golden Ears Business Park was back on the agenda at Pitt Meadows council, as the developer begins site work on the fourth and final phase of its four million square foot light industrial park.
Onni offered the city a $1.5 million amenity to allow it to use structural fill rather than river-dredged sand.
Mayor Bill Dingwall supported the application, and spoke about the importance of the amenity contribution. He said the $1.5 million is 7.5 times what the city received as a contribution for phase one. To raise that much revenue, the city would need to increase taxes approximately 7.5 per cent tax one year.
“It’s not only an important gift to the city, but I think it’s the start, hopefully, of a really good professional relationship with Onni as we move forward,” said Dingwall. “They’re not going anywhere.”
After more than an hour of debate Tuesday, council approved a fill deposit permit to allow half a million cubic meters at the 19.26 hectare site, located at at 11208 Harris Road. It will raise the grades fabove the flood plain, to 5.33 meters.
The city will also get $250,000 in road levies from Onni.
Councillors had concerns about the company using structural fill, because it had hauled in contaminated fill in the past. The soil was brought to the site in 2014 from an Onni-owned site in Vancouver, and had traces of copper, zinc and lead.
“How can we trust that polluted soil is not going to be used, as it was on phase 3?” asked Coun. Bob Meachen.
CAO Mark Roberts answered there were 38 contaminated loads used on the site. It triggered the need for independent environmental monitoring, which will be continued, and paid for by Onni.
Coun. Anena Simpson asked if contaminated fill is used again, what are the consequences?
Staff said the city can issue fines, stop work orders and require remediation. In phase three, remediation was required. They also take a security bond, which will be $2.5 million, based on the amount of fill. It could be used for remediation if there is no cooperation from Onni.
Dingwall was a determined opponent of the development, frequently speaking against the development that was widely opposed by South Bonson residents. However, he said the property zoning has been done, and he supported the fill application.
His goal is to build the best possible business park – including pathways, berms and buffers, and also build a professional relationship with Onni “Who is our largest business owner in the city of Pitt Meadows, and the largest taxpayer in the city of Pitt Meadows.”
Meachen and Simpson spoke against using Harris Road for trucks, and the developer being able to truck on Saturdays, with is not normally permitted in city bylaws, and voted against the permit.