Owners pitch plan for south Pitt Meadows development

Mosaic Homes offers to build new outdoor pool if rezoning granted for Cardiff Farms

Coun. Doug Bing

Coun. Doug Bing

The owner of a large green tract of land in south Pitt Meadows pitched council a plan for development on Tuesday, offering to build a new outdoor pool, if a portion of the property can be rezoned from industrial to residential.

At a committee meeting Tuesday, Mosaic Homes unveiled three ideas for a mixed “industrial-commercial campus” on the 40.4-hectare (100 acres) property – known locally as Cardiff Farms.

The property owners need the city’s support to pursue a change in zoning at the Metro Vancouver level from industrial to residential.

The better the mix of uses, the more benefits, said Rob McCarthy, with Mosaic, the developer that built Pitt Meadows’ waterfront Osprey Village.

Depending on how large it is, the industrial-commercial section would provide 500 to 4,000 jobs.

Mosaic suggested the development could even house a hockey school.

McCarthy, though, provided few details about the residential component of Mosaic’s plan, saying only that it would be similar to the subdivisions that surround the property, located on Harris Road at Airport Way.

Mosaic and property owners Alouette Estates enticed council by suggesting they would contribute an amenity to the city – an outdoor pool with changing rooms, that could eventually be enclosed.

McCarthy was optimistic about attracting businesses to the industrial “campus,” although the property is located across the street from the Golden Ears Business Centre, a industrial complex that currently sits almost empty.

Council was receptive to Mosaic’s pitch, but wanted more details. Mosaic did not return a request by The News to elaborate on the proposal.

Coun. Gwen O’Connell said she would not pass a development just for a new swimming pool.

Her colleagues described Mosaic’s presentation as vague, but acknowledged the developer was just testing the water to gauge the city’s interest. Council asked Mosaic to work on a more concrete proposal with Pitt Meadows Economic Development Corporation.

Coun. Doug Bing, like his colleagues, preferred the development concept that has the potential to generate between 2,500-4,000 jobs versus the concept that would create between 500-1,000.

However, because the developer presented little or no information about plans for residential development, Bing noted the proposals were difficult to assess.

“At this stage, I think if the proposal was sent to Metro Vancouver, it has little chance of passing.”

Coun. Janis Elkerton hopes Mosaic doesn’t misinterpret positive comments by council as out-right support.

“I’m certainly not gung-ho about a bunch of homes down there,” said Coun. Janis Elkerton.

“That’s why the area [for homes] was blank on their presentation. It’s not going to be half residential and half industrial, that just won’t fly. They know our city’s theme song: jobs and taxes.”

Coun. Dave Murray assured city residents that council would “get the best deal for the city,” one that brings the most jobs.

But he, too, noted: “There were a lot of holes in the presentation.”

Mosaic’s history with the Osprey Village development had several councillors concerned. The company was granted four amendments to the original Osprey proposal, reducing its commercial component and adding more residential.

Mosaic has yet to complete that project or build a chapel and pub or restaurant that were meant to draw people to Osprey’s main street.

“As council, it is good to have an open mind, but Mosaic’s proposal lacked substance, detail and commitment,” said Coun. Bruce Bell.

“A potential show stopper for me is if some of the property was rezoned to residential and the housing projects are built before any commercial-industrial projects. I do not believe that that would be a good practice. We have seen that kind of manoeuvre before.”

Mayor Deb Walters, however, said she has always envisioned a mix of uses – residential and light industrial – on the Cardiff Farms land.

“For me, it’s about jobs for our community and the benefits that our residents will receive from such a development. I like the fact that the developers are looking at innovative ways to develop this parcel,” she added.