Pitt Meadows residents rally against industry

Event planned Saturday at Pitt Meadows city hall.

Residents in Pitt Meadows are rallying against expansion of a business park on Saturday.

Residents in Pitt Meadows are rallying against expansion of a business park on Saturday.

“Residents Rising” is the billing of a rally at Pitt Meadows city hall Saturday for those who oppose more light industrial development in south Bonson.

The citizen protest of the continued expansion of Golden Ears Business Park is slated for 10 a.m. at Spirit Square, 11985 Harris Rd.

Corrine O’Handley, who is organizing the event with Robert Meachen, accuses Mayor John Becker of ignoring “huge public outcry,” and going ahead with the third and fourth phases of the business park.

The project would see the developer, Onni, build approximately four million square feet of industrial space.

“In a little city of roughly 18,000 people, we do not need another two million square feet of warehouses, especially on property that is bordered to the north, south and east by residential homes and the city’s athletic park,” said O’Handley. “The feel of the entire community of Osprey Village and south Bonson would suffer a tremendous blow, not to mention the harmful ramifications this expansion would cause the city in terms of traffic, flooding and safety issues, to name a few.”

While the industrial park has been planned for decades, her husband Ron O’Handley said south Bonson isn’t the right place for more industrial space.

“Twenty years ago we weren’t even here.”

Coun. Janis Elkerton isn’t concerned about the rally.

“It’s great that citizens become involved, and care about their community.”

She said Osprey Village would be properly buffered from the next phases of the industrial park.

As well, the city is negotiating playing fields and a buffering zone with the developer.

“We’ve been driving a hard bargain.”

Elkerton said Pitt Meadows would benefit from an expanded tax base, and believes Onni development opponents are a small group.

“We have to do what’s best for the entire community.”

Elkerton noted that the city has ordered two traffic studies, an environmental assessment, and had a design consultant hired in response to residents concerns.

The property rezoning application, from agricultural to light industrial, has received first reading.

“It’s time for us to get a little louder,” Corrine O’Handley said.