Letter to Bill Good from Amanda Nichol

Dear Bill Good,
 

I was very disappointed to hear your coverage of Onni withdrawing their application here in the City of North Vancouver on your radio show on Wednesday.

 
From Onnis’ website:  “The Onni Group is one of North America’s leading private real estate developers… the company owns and manages 5 million square feet of commercial property and over 3,800 rental apartment units.  With offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Mexico, Onni continues to expand and diversify into new markets throughout North America.
So I think it would be fair to say, compared to our little 5 square mile city they are an enormous company that stands to profit significantly from any development they do. Isn’t that the nature of their business?.
 
As someone who has been present throughout the community Onni processes, after the last public hearing, I saw a MAJORITY (4/7) of city councillors decided to extend the public input/hearing process for another public hearing. Perhaps you should have delved more into why most of the councillors thought there should be another public hearing? I heard several councillors suggest there were flaws within the city’s rules that could have allowed for the perception that it could have, perhaps, been manipulated. Perhaps you could look at who did NOT want an additional opportunity for the public to have input into this process?  Many residents did not get to city hall early enough to sign up to speak, and many simply did not last until 12:30 am (which was around when I finally got to speak).
 
Two of the three councillors who voted against further public input received significant campaign contributions from RPMG Holdings (not hard to find the connection with Onni) and one is about to run in a provincial election (I wonder if affordable/subsidized housing and childcare will be a part of his campaign platform?). I have not heard a councillor or many members of the community speak against affordable housing or childcare spaces, or a new development, it is just a matter of how much is enough for what Onni is getting in return. 
 
A caller into a later CKNW program identified himself as a previous North Vancouver City Councillor and noted that, quite simply, something of that magnitude in the heart of the city required time to get it right and also offered calculations that were significantly different than what city staff and Onni were offering, suggesting that rather than the estimated $5 million in amenities contributions from Onni, that the City of North Vancouver should be getting closer to $20 million in amenities funding in exchange for that kind of density. Good point.
 
For your information I am a young professional (under 40), with two little boys and I managed to remain at the last Onni public hearing until 12:47 am, I was also at the following council meeting for over 4.5 hours (and every other public meeting/Council meeting regarding this prior). 
 
I have to also say that developers coming to the very small and sought after City of North Vancouver are not nearly as hard done by as inferred. In fact, I have seen and heard quite the contrary; for many developers, it is a dream with higher profit margins and less amenity contributions required than most other municipalities they have worked in.
 
 
— 

Amanda Nichol, 

 
 
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