Coun. Gwen O’Connell said she is looking forward to seeing the North Lougheed development back before Pitt Meadows city council. (Neil Corbett/THE NEWS)

Coun. Gwen O’Connell said she is looking forward to seeing the North Lougheed development back before Pitt Meadows city council. (Neil Corbett/THE NEWS)

Reconsidering Onni, North Lougheed and daycare lease

New Pitt Meadows council changes course on high profile issues

Pitt Meadows council is reconsidering past decisions about Onni’s Golden Ears Business Park, the lease for the Discovery Playhouse Daycare and the North Lougheed Special Study Area.

Council finished the rezoning process for phases three and four of the 200-acre business park in mid-summer of 2018, but the new council would like to revisit the land use and initiate a discussion with the property owner.

Council passed a motion to direct the mayor and chief administrative officer to schedule a meeting with the property owner of Golden Ears Business Park to discuss the use of lands for light industrial and alternative uses for phases three and four.

Mayor Bill Dingwall noted council is not revoking fourth reading of the rezoning bylaw approval.

“This is about the city sitting down with the [Onni] president, Rossano De Cotiis, and his vice-president, Chris Evans, and having a discussion,” said Dingwall.

“The commitment is for both them and us to enter this in good faith, and really have that discussion, and then bring it back to council,” he added.

“We want to explore if there are any other options available for the Onni group, and the city and our community.”

Onni has said in the past it would not consider residential or commercial development for the final phases of the business park, which area residents petitioned against, collecting 1,600 signatures.

Dingwall has said he would like to see more mixed use in the area, including commercial and residential development.

There was a large round of applause from the audience after the motion passed unanimously.

Council also asked for a staff report about the Discovery Playhouse Daycare, for which the lease with the city at the Pitt Meadows Family Recreation Centre is set to expire in September 2020.

“I personally want to see our city council fully supporting the Discovery daycare and the staff and the families,” said Coun. Bob Meachen

He noted the daycare had been run as an affordable non-profit organization since 1974, and in 2000 was asked to move to its present location by the city. It has one room licenced for 23 children, another for 24, and serves between 80 and 100 families.

“This is a vital resource for so many of our families, and we must support and retain this service for our community,” said Meachen.

“There are many families who are very concerned about the future for their children in this particular location,” added Coun. Anena Simpson, who asked for a deadline for the report.

Staff responded that the report will be back before council before the end of December.

And council rescinded a 2015 motion by the past council that indefinitely postponed any action on the North Lougheed Special Study Area.

“It’s to rescind that motion, which essentially says that we’re back open for business, back open for discussion …” said Dingwall.

The area in question ranges from Meadow Gardens Golf Course in the east to Harris Road in the west.

Dingwall noted it is “intertwined” with other projects, including TransLink’s B-Line bus route, and will be part of Official Community Plan discussions.

Dingwall noted the development would likely be “on its way” except that former councillor Doug Bing left council to become the MLA, and approval was lost in a 3-3 tie vote in 2014, under the council of then-mayor Deb Walters.

“This was hundreds and hundreds of hours that we as a council spent on this, and to have the vote go down the way it did was heartbreaking,” said Coun. Gwen O’Connell, who served on that council.

Simpson asked whether the North Lougheed Connector is intrinsic to the development of the site, and was told construction of the road was made a condition of non-farm use of the property by the Agricultural Land Commission.