Review of November 19, 2018 Council Meetings
I was unable to attend or view the live stream of the afternoon meeting, so I will comment on those proceeding following review of the video, if made available.
Delegations request intersection on 216th & re-paving at McBride
The night’s meeting kicked off with two well spoken delegations from the public regarding infrastructure in established neighbourhoods. Marina MacLean of Walnut Grove would like to see some sort of traffic signal or roundabout traffic calming intersection at 216th Street and 90th Avenue around Topham Elementary – she included a petition of 250 signatures from the neighbourhood and cited 130 accidents on 216th between 96th Avenue and Telegraphic trail over the last 5 years. The second delegation by Laura Ballance of Fort Langley requested that the Township move forward with re-asphalting the lane next to Fort Langley Hall and upgrading the lighting along the McBride laneway now that Statewood Properties’ (owned by Eric Woodward) had pulled the application for the Glove Mary Church project. She indicated that Township had stated over 5 years ago that this was suppose to be imminent at that time, but Township later said they did not want to re-surface the road twice if that application went forward. Councillor Bob Long later made a motion for these two delegation requests go to staff for a report.
Woodward questions staff recommendations on first/second readings. BC Supportive Housing development moves to Public Hearing
Almost all bylaws for first and second readings pass unanimously. Councillor Eric Woodward made several requests for information, especially focusing on the Essence Properties application for 201st St and 80th Ave that shows 0 of the 33 significant trees to be retained. He feels that this is not in line with the Latimer plan, but if it is, that there should be some written justification for it and that Council should be able to review this justification on this application and others moving forward. Regarding the Jackpot Properties application for a land use discharge to move forward with a brewary at 196th St and 64th Ave, Councillor Petrina Arnason noted the quantity of residential homes in the area and wondered if there would be a later ability to limit the hours of operation. This is also the same address at which the new Royal Lepage Wolsencroft brokerage will be located (the old Bingo hall, adjacent to Townhall Public House). The Dhillon application for 11 single family homes at 72nd Ave and 210th St also passed, but did so without the support of Councillors Kim Richter & Petrina Arnason, both who held reservations about the 11th lot and/or small frontages.
The controversial BC Supportive Housing development that will potentially replace the Quality Hotel at 6465 201st Street (near the Home Depot) passed first/second reading unanimously. Councillor Steve Ferguson made note of the significant amount of opposition in the developers information session(s), but Councillor Petrina Arnason countered saying that the applicant had taken the negative feedback and were dedicated to mitigating many of the concerns. Councillors Arnason and Richter both supported the application moving to public hearing, with Councillor Richter making a motion to have a standalone public hearing set for December 5, 2018 at 6:00pm, which passed unanimously.
Woodward’s Brookswood motion defeated in 6-3 vote
Included on the agenda that was released on Friday was a motion by Councillor Eric Woodward to direct staff to focus on completing one neighbourhood plan instead of three (his recommendation is Booth or Fernridge). Woodward made 2 more significant clarifications, one in the form of an explanation of intent and another in the form of an amendment to attach specific timelines. First, the explanation of intent was to state that this is not a significant deviation from the current plan and the motion should allow for overlap or even concurrent planning of all NCPs. His intent is to merely provide more time for public engagement on the plans, as he referred numerous times that he had been led to believe by meetings with staff that their intention is to present 3 NCPs to council within an 18 month timeframe. General Manager Ramin Seifi countered that it is almost impossible to bring all 3 NCPs at the same time. Woodward’s amendment to his own motion had completing the Fernridge NCP within 18 months, Booth between 18-24 months and Finn at 24-36 months.
Councillor Blair Whitmarsh provide the most heated rejection of Woodward’s motion, explicitly stating that this wouldn’t be smart planning and that Brookswood must be considered as whole. He also was adamant that neighbourhood plans do not mean neighbourhood development (although there was no reference to any mechanism that would mean this isn’t true, other than the obvious idea that the Township doesn’t develop anything themselves). Councillor Bob Long stated that he doesn’t like the idea of undoing what had already been done and was concerned that even without the completed NCP’s, Council must still consider all applications. He also pointed out that by staggering plan completion, Council could be inadvertently affecting land values. Councillor Kim Richter, who seconded the motion, was more supportive, suggesting that 3 NCPs at one time was not a logical or progressive planning method and made an allusion to phased development. Councillor Woodward addressed the first statements re-stating that phased development is not the intent of the motion, nor an undoing of previous work: the idea is to add a year to public engagement and have a methodical plan. He rebutted Councillor Whitmarsh’s comments that the Brookswood OCP was the time and place for looking at the whole and now was the time to get the details right in a focused and methodical manner, so that not every tree in a Brookswood townhome site is taken down (alluding to an earlier application), nor to see a patchwork of roads and sidewalks. Councillor Steve Ferguson expressed that he is interested in the idea but not sure if this is the answer and Mayor Jack Froese felt that the intent of the motion is already covered by the current process. The timeline amendment was first defeated with Richter, Woodward and Arnason in favour, and then the main motion was defeated with Froese, Ferguson, Whitmarsh, Long, Davis opposed. There was definitely murmuring the audience that the 5-4 split was expected, but many expected Councillor Margaret Kunst (who was also the only Councillor to not say a single word all night) to oppose and Councillor David Davis to support – the positions of these two were unexpected by myself as well. ***UPDATE: It is my understand that Councillor Kunst’s affirmative vote was a MISTAKE, I have updated the headline to read “6-3”.
(For further reading on the issue see: Why Willoughby needs Brookswood to slow down)
Additional motions regarding censorship, mansions on farmland & affordable housing end the evening meeting
Councillor Kim Richter made two motions at the end of the night, although I missed the first one (I’ll update upon review of the video). The second motion was for a change to policy about how a Councillor could be censured and the ensuing legal costs that come with it. While I did not have the written motion in front of me, the important part that I caught was the move to have motions of censorship of a Township Councillor to be passed by a 2/3 super majority vote. This is, of course, obviously following the drama of the previous council.
Councillor David Davis spoke up with a motion for staff to look to the recently adopted bylaw restricting home sizes on ALR land in Richmond and come back with a report. Meanwhile, Councillor Petrina Arnason wished for staff to provide a report on how to implement recommendations by a local body (I missed the name – was it UBCM?) to tackle affordable housing on a municipal level.
Quiet Public Hearing
There were 3 bylaws for public hearing, 2 of which had no submissions from the public and a 3rd had only 3 submissions, mostly supportive.