City council has given its approval of the most recent version of SmartCentres’ development plans.
At two related public hearings Monday evening, the only member of the public to speak to the reduced footprint of the proposed shopping centre development was WA:TER vice-president Alex Inselberg, who argued that despite all the changes SmartCentres was required to do in order to uphold Riparian Area Regulations (RAR), the footprint of the current plan is still within the Streamside Protection and Enhancement Area. Noting the province is saying nothing more on the matter, Inselberg criticized the B.C. government for its lack of monitoring, and for its dependence on the professional reliance model and qualified environmental professionals hired by developers, which he said represented a conflict of interest.
Coun. Alan Harrison emphasized how about 40 acres of the SmartCentres property would be protected, and said the current plan is a huge improvement over what came before council in 2008. Coun. Kevin Flynn called the proposal an example of brownfield development.
Couns. Ken Jamieson and Ivan Idzan reluctantly approved the development permit related to form and character, but not the permit related to Hazardous Areas Assessment. Referring to the fill placed on the property prior to SmartCentres’ ownership, Idzan said he couldn’t support someone else benefiting from the grievous errors of others. And, given the challenges SmartCentres has faced with RAR, Idzan said he wouldn’t be surprised if more changes are required.
Approval by the Ministry of Transportation is still required for the development.