A crowd of protestors at Pitt Meadows City Hall sang “Who wants a warehouse,” to the tune of “Who Let the Dogs Out” in a rally titled Residents Rising on Saturday morning.
About 150 Pitt Meadows residents held placards reading “No More Warehouses” as they railed against the continued development of the Golden Ears Business Park in the South Bonson area.
Developer Onni is building the first two of the four-phase business park, which will create approximately one million square feet of light industrial space for each phase.
They played Ziggy Marley’s “Stand up for Your Rights,” and organizers Bob Meachen and Corinne O’Handley were joined by residents as they spoke about traffic safety and congestion caused by 5,000 new parking spaces in the development.
“This time, let’s do a traffic study when people are at work and schools are open,” said Meachen, noting the last traffic study was done during the summer months.
They also oppose turning a large part of the South Bonson area into a warehouse zone with tilt-up concrete buildings.
Meachen said city hall still needs to consider the potential flooding hazard being created by filling and compacting the development sites, and paving and building on them.
“What happens to all the water?” he asked.
He noted the councillors Bruce Bell, Mike Stark, Tracy Miyashita and Bill Dingwall were all in attendance at the rally.
“If council chooses to ignore the will of the people, we will change things up in two years,” said Meachen. “We are the will of the people.”
The group is organizing on the Facebook page Residents United – Golden Ears Business Park Expansion, which has been picking up members, and now has 984.
Meachen and O’Handley both said they turnout of approximately 150 people was good.
“Considering it’s been raining all morning, it’s great,” said Meachen
“We want to keep the momentum going, and make everyone aware of the issues.”
The rally went for about an hour.
“It felt good for us to be able to vent, as a community together, and unite face to face,” said O’Handley.
Pitt Meadows Coun. Mike Start was seen not singing in the crowd. Asked if the rally had changed his mind on the rezoning application before council, he responded that his mind is still open.
“I’m not sure council has its mind made up. We’re in the middle of a process here. We’ll take in all the information we can, and make a decision when it’s all in. “
Both he and Coun. Bruce Bell were complimentary of the citizens for getting involved.
“They’re making Pitt Meadows a better place,” said Bell.
“They’re coming to meetings and being respectful and involved. What more could you ask of a community, on any topic?”
Bell also said his mind remains open, and he will be curious to see what Onni proposes for buffering, green spaces and pedestrian safety.
Bell and Stark both doubted that flooding would prove to be an impediment to development, given proper drainage measures.
“We’ll get the best advice available,” said Bell.