South Bonson residents rallied against further expansion of the business park.

Year in Rearview: New design coming for Pitt business park

Mayor expects developer to have design back in January for a second reading.

The second phase of the Golden Ears Business Park is about 60 per cent complete, and approval for the third is expected before council early in the new year.

Leasing agent Ben Lutes said Onni has developed “a great park,” and the City of Pitt Meadows has shown a willingness to help business clients who want to move to Pitt Meadows. As a result, it has been easy to rent.

“Pre-leasing has been strong, and when it’s tilted and up, it’s not sitting vacant very long,” said Lutes. “It speaks to the product, it speaks to the location and it speaks to the city.”

South Bonson residents still oppose further expansion of the business park.

Residents United – Golden Ears Business Park Expansion has an active Facebook page with more than 1,000 members.

Earlier this year, residents complained that more tilt-up concrete buildings would make for an ugly neighbourhood, and the city had new design work done by IBI Group, which resulted in a more “campus style” look to the park.

“The plans are excellent, with more thought given to esthetics – a campus style, tiered roofing and more walkways,” said Corrine O’Handley, with Residents United.

“It’s definitely a step in the right direction – if we must have a business park.”

Traffic consultant McElhanney studied impacts not just in the South Bonson area, but up Harris Road, and council is recommending safety measures that could include an Airport Way overpass.

Residents United also asked for an environmental review of Onni’s work, and the consultant found the Katzie Slough was being polluted.

At an April 12 special meeting, council suspended the developer’s fill permit. Problems included collapsed and improperly installed silt fences, which resulted in material being washed into Katzie Slough.

Residents have collected 1,400 names on a petition opposing phases three and four as initially presented and staged a protest in November.

Mayor John Becker said council is negotiating with Onni about its amenity contribution to the city. With the price of property in the Lower Mainland, Becker said having land donated for sports fields is a significant addition to Pitt Meadows.

“Land is not getting any cheaper.”

He expects the developer to have a design back before the city in January for a second reading of the rezoning bylaw. It will then go to public hearing.

Onni needs to have a design that satisfies residents and will succeed in the marketplace for light industrial properties, Becker added.

“They’re trying to find that sweet spot.”


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