THE NEWS/files                                Chris Evans of Onni speaks during a public hearing in June.

THE NEWS/files Chris Evans of Onni speaks during a public hearing in June.

Pitt Meadows asks Onni for funds

City will build berms and sidewalks in business park

Pitt Meadows council wants to hold Onni to a timeline to build its sidewalks, berms and prepare land for playing fields, regardless of the developer’s time frame for industrial park construction.

So the parties will determine a price for the works, and require Onni to contribute that amount to the city.

The controversial industrial development, phases 3 and 4 of the Golden Ears Business Park, will see 200 acres of land in South Bonson become the site of four million square feet of light industrial buildings. It was back on council’s agenda on Tuesday.

Staff gave council options to address the time frame issue. It could have required the developer to build all improvements to the buffers, berms and amenity area within two years, or require all improvements to be completed prior to the city issuing any building permits for phases 3 and 4.

Councillors instead chose the option of requiring Onni to give the city the necessary funds, and the municipality will complete the work itself, on its own timeline.

The amount will be based on an independent assessment of the value of completing all fill, design, construction, project management and landscaping of the buffer and berm areas, as well as fill and compaction of the amenity area.

Onni would not be responsible for any shortfall if the amount agreed to did not cover the work.

“There could also be a windfall. That’s a possibility?” Coun. Bruce Bell asked staff, noting the city may be able to do the work for less than the agreed-upon sum.

“The goal here is to make sure that this part of the project happens, even if the other part of the project doesn’t happen,” he said, noting Onni could put its project on hold for a decade.

The city will take ownership of the buffer, berm and amenity lands when the land is rezoned.

Coun. Bill Dingwall, who has opposed phases 3 and 4, got behind the motion.

“We need to look after these new assets for the city, and make sure we do it on our timeline,” he said. “I haven’t voted for a lot on this whole project, I will vote for this because this will stand on its own regardless where that zoning ends up.”

“The big fear for me is a shortfall. That has all of us a little bit concerned,” he added. “We need to clearly do our due diligence, and make sure that price is fair, and that we get what we need to to complete all this work.”

South Bonson resident and Onni development protester Corinne O’Handley asked what would happen if Onni is not happy with all of the conditions placed upon the company by city hall – could it withdraw its application.

Mayor John Becker confirmed that is a possibility.

“The ball remains with the applicant,” he said, adding Onni could still withdraw its rezoning application if the company is not happy with council’s recent changes.