Minister evades responsibility and asks the Inspector to reply to CAUSS

Two months after our concerns about the provincial approval process for the Silverdale 20 year Phased Development Agreement (PDA) were sent to the Minister of Community Development, Kevin Kruegar, CAUSS received the following response from the Inspector of Municipalities.  The Inspector’s response, like his initial approval, fails to address the concerns of both environmental ministries (DFO, MoE), confuses the consultation process for the PDA with the Neigbouhood Plan, fails to address the legal problems with the PDA, and introduces incorrect information such as referring to the need for the PDA due to the “3400 hectare” size of the development (Neighbourhood One is less than 600 acres).  The Inspector’s response confirms that the approval process was merely a rubber stamp.


Wall, Dale CD:EX


Ref:  132274

Tracy Lyster, Chair 
Citizens Against Urban Sprawl Society
Dear Tracy Lyster:

Thank you for your email of March 2, 2009, addressed to Honourable Kevin Krueger, Minister, regarding the Phased Development Agreement (PDA) for South-West Mission.  Minister Krueger has asked that I respond on his behalf during the provincial election period.  I apologize for the delay in responding.

Under section 905.2(2) of the Local Government Act, the Inspector of Municipalities must approve PDAs that extend beyond a 10-year time frame.  The approval requirement was established in legislation to strike a balance between land use certainty for a development and the principle of not fettering the decision making of future councils for an extended period of time.

This is an important matter.  The responsibility to review, consider and either approve or not approve these bylaws needs to be taken very seriously.

In my review of any PDA that extends beyond a 10-year time frame, the key criteria considered include:

-Ensuring that adequate public consultation has been undertaken; 
-Reviewing the effort made by local government, in this case, the District of Mission (District), to undertake its own legal review and risk assessment so that the District’s Council was able to make an informed decision;

-Reviewing the sequencing of the provision of amenities to ensure significant public benefits will be in place prior to the completion of the project; and,

-Ensuring the size of the development warrants a 20-year agreement and is based on a reasonable business case.

In the case of South-West Mission, it was evident from coverage of the public hearing that there had been, and was, ongoing and extensive public debate with respect to this project within the District.  It was also clear from the record of the public hearing that substantial consultation had occurred over an extended period of time and the public had availed itself of those opportunities to state either their opposition or support for this project.

Further to this, the project is consistent with longer-term planning done by the District, which itself was based on significant public input.  For example, the project proposal is clearly set out in the District’s 2008 Official Community Plan (OCP).  That plan makes it clear that current planning for the area dates to at least 2005, when sustainable development guidelines for the area were adopted.  It is also clear that the District’s OCP is tied to the Fraser Valley Regional Growth Strategy and, through that strategy, to the long-term vision for the overall region.  Finally, the neighbourhood plan itself states that significant amenities will be delivered up front and that a development of 3400 hectares with a 20-year build out is clearly of a scale that would justify a longer-term PDA.

In undertaking any review of longer-term PDAs, the above criteria are applied to each project reviewed.  Following the application of these four criteria, the District was advised of the approval of the South-West Mission PDA on February 12, 2009.

Thank you, again, for your email.  I will ensure that the incoming Minister is advised of your concerns following the provincial election.

Dale Wall 
Inspector of Municipalities