Pitt Meadows invites petitioner back

Pitt councillors given chance to ask questions on survey.

Patricia Gordon addresses Pitt Meadows council.

Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker personally invited Golden Ears Business Park opponent Patricia Gordon back to city hall, to hear questions that council members were not allowed to ask last week.

She appeared early at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

On Oct. 18, Gordon presented the results of a 10-question survey that she said showed 90 per cent of Pitt Meadows is opposed to Onni’s business park development. Her presentation was supposed to be 10 minutes long, but ran 12 minutes, and Becker said there was not time for councillors to ask her questions.

Coun. Tracy Miyashita walked out with Gordon’s supporters, to protest the mayor’s decision.

Gordon said there was “shock and outrage” from citizens on the Facebook page opposing the business park expansion. She said “disrespectful” was a common comment.

On Oct. 25, at Becker’s invitation, Gordon returned to hear council’s questions.

Coun. Janis Elkerton noted that of the 448 respondents of the survey, “the vast majority [293] were from South Bonson.”

“We are well aware of the concerns down in South Bonson, we have addressed them by not making the buildings higher, and making sure there’s green space,” she said.

She said the response is not representative of the whole population of Pitt Meadows.

Gordon said she broke down the survey with a summary of entire response and also by neighbourhoods. She agreed 65 per cent were from South Bonson, and that area had highest opposition at 95 per cent. But she noted that all neighbourhoods were strongly against phases three and four:

• west Harris at 88 per cent;

• midtown Highlands at 77 per cent, and;

• north Lougheed 75 per cent.

Councillors also questioned whether the survey was presented in an objective manner, and Elkerton said “the results of a typical survey are worthless if the questions are biased.”

Coun. Bruce Bell held up an artistic rendering of the proposed buildings that Gordon used in the survey, and said, “I’d probably sign your petition if it was going to end up like this.”

“I’ve got one here,” quipped Gordon.

Coun. Mike Stark asked whether the new design guidelines for phases three and four were used in her images of what the park could look like.

Gordon answered that her artistic rendering shows the land mass that will be covered by buildings.

She said when she did the survey during the summer, tilt-up slab concrete was proposed.

The petition was based on earlier stages in the plans, and changes have since been made.

Gordon talked about different uses, such as office space, retail, commercial and restaurants, and those uses are now being considered for the development.

Becker congratulated Gordon for her hard work.

“It’s difficult to get people engaged, so thank you for that,” he said. “The challenge with your survey is it doesn’t reflect what we are going to be bringing forward as part of the [design] guidelines.”

He said there will be a clear difference in the look of phases one and two compared to three and four.

“Phases three and four will look a lot better,” said Becker. “Nobody is interested in two million square feet of concrete tilt-up slab.”

He noted there are problems with the survey, because the site Survey Monkey allows one vote per device.

“There’s nothing to prevent people from voting multiple times in this kind of a survey,” said Becker. “So it’s statistical relevance, to me, is less important than the high-level concerns you have brought forward, which I think we all endorse.”

Miyashita asked staff about the process for accepting petitions, and said council has been inconsistent.

Gordon presented a petition with 1,273 names opposing the development.

Staff has a copy at city hall, and it could be accepted as public feedback during the public hearing on rezoning, but it would need to be re-submitted then.

 

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