Pitt budget discussions moved to New Year

Residents will be able to comment after Christmas.

The City of Pitt Meadows will move its budget discussions to the New Year.

Council decided to make the switch at a committee meeting Tuesday, which means the lengthy debates about how to spend tax dollars will now take place after the holidays.

“We can now deliberate it in January, when everyone is back from Christmas,” said Coun. Janis Elkerton.

City staff will still prepare their business plans and preliminary budgets by late November, but public input will take place in the New Year.

Council also passed its annual tax rate bylaw during committee Tuesday, although the formal vote on it will occur at  its next regular meeting, May 6.

A 1.9 per cent increase, the lowest tax hike in a decade, will add $52 to the tax bill for the average single-family home, valued at $450,000. Multi-family dwellings, valued at $270,000, will see their bills increase by $2 or 0.11 per cent.


Delta precedent

The City of Pitt Meadows is concerned that a controversial plan to turn 217 hectares of Delta farmland into a residential development could have implications for other communities in Metro Vancouver.

At a committee meeting Tuesday, council voted to send a letter to Metro Vancouver voicing their concerns about the Southlands project, ahead of a  public hearing held in Burnaby on Thursday.

Metro Vancouver’s board of directors gave preliminary approval to the application last month that would see the Century Group build 950 housing units on 217-hectare (537-acre) Tsawwassen property.

The remaining 80 per cent would be given to municipality of Delta to farm.

The Century Group has asked Metro Vancouver to redesignate the property from agricultural to urban and conservation.

The land was removed from the provincially protected Agricultural Land Reserve in 1981.

Any change in the designation requires a two-thirds vote by the Metro board of directors.

Couns. Bruce Bell and Janis Elkerton wondered if development would set a precedent across Lower Mainland as it taking place outside the urban containment boundary.

Other concerns included the lack of transit near the Southlands and the creation of yet another suburban satellite community.

“I think this is a good deal,” said Bell, adding he remains concerned that the project will take place outside the designated urban boundary.