Why Are Banman, Smith, Ross Pushing For Agri-Mall?

By November 10, 2013Issues, Mike Archer

By Mike Archer. So; Cold Water Ranch Ltd. is threatening to move PrairieCoast John Deere, Avenue Machinery, Caliber Equipment and Handlers Equipment to Chilliwack unless the City of Abbotsford abandons its Official Community Plan (OCP) and dives headlong into a proposal for which Cold Water has yet to demonstrate the value to the City of Abbotsford.

According to the Abbotsford News account by Alex Butler, “City staff raised concerns that using the land for agri-industrial purposes is not within the city’s Official Community Plan (OCP), which designates the area as suburban residential.  As the city has yet to grow into the area residentially, staff say the city is years away from understanding the long-term residential needs of the area and building the Agri-Mall could alter future development capacities in the area. “

Patricia Ross

Patricia Ross

In response Counillor Patricia Ross says she is more concerned about the threat to move four businesses out of town than staff’s concerns over the long-term viability of the City.

Councillor John Smith says our OCP is now ancient (8 years-old) and, will be changed soon anyway … so who cares what the OCP says.

John Smith

John Smith

Mayor Bruce Banman, who has turned out to be an even funnier provider of comic relief around the council table than Simon Gibson, says that, since we break the OCP all the time who cares about the future viability of the economic growth and sustainability of the City, let’s just make the decision now.

Abbotsford council feels more and more like student’s council did in grade seven as kids were being given the chance to learn how the real world works. Unfortunately, these councillors have just about destroyed their city trying to learn how the real world works.

We no longer have the time, the money or the patience to see if these dolts will ever learn how to do their jobs properly.

Bruce Banman

Bruce Banman

Bruce – the whole point, in fact the only point, of an OCP is the long-term viability and sustainability of the community. The first good piece of advice your staff has provided council in almost a decade and this is the time you choose to throw them under the bus?

Who the hell is going to want to invest in a residential development beside a farm tractor mall?

How long will this community continue to put up with such childish, inexperienced and foolhardy leadership?

Let the companies move to Chilliwack and continue developing the Sumas Way stretch as a retail corridor. Their taxes will be replaced. Or better yet – stick to the OCP and tell Cold Water to move the companies into one of the industrial zoned areas which are sitting developed but empty.

Oh … maybe they can’t cause the land they own is over in East Abbotsford. Well how the hell are they going to move those companies over to Chilliwack if their land is in Abbotsford?

It gets so tiring for people who give a damn about this community to watch the fools we have spend our money with such carefree abandon and almost deliberate ignorance of reality, common sense or endless amounts of good advice from people who care and know what they are talking about.

Sort of the way the City promised the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association (ADBA) it would never allow a Supportive Housing Project in the ADBA zoned area, and then spent five years negotiating with the BC government to do just that.

There ought to be a cost – a real cost – to breaking the rules in Abbotsford. For instance, as the Abbotsford Drug War Survivors (DWS) have argued, if the City goes ahead and breaks its word to the ADBA by allowing the ACS Supportive Housing Proposal to go through, the City should compensate the ADBA for breaching the contract which was made.

Banman is so cavalier in his willingness to chuck out the rule book. Maybe he hasn’t read it and can’t be bothered letting it get in the way of the decisions he likes to make.

Perhaps, when faced with yet another decision to effectively break the rules (which is what deviating from the OCP means) we have to learn to ask Cui Bono – who benefits? After all, the only people who seem to be benefiting from this council’s largess are companies like the Calgary Flames, Global Spectrum, Highstreet Mall and any others to which City politicians have either given tax breaks, signed contracts or other means of providing access to taxpayer funds in order to help private business. We almost gave away the farm to Banman’s other favourite charity – the YMCA, until taxpayers told Council enough was enough.

Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • The Editor says:

    Jay Mitchell Says: “I don’t think a housing development would really fly very well along the Sumas or Riverside corridors, even if the city has plotted them for such development. Sumas Village is blocked up against farmland, and the rest of the entire Sumas area seems to be headed toward industrial– with the Target/Costco area being the commercial odd-man-out. At the same time, I don’t think a pushy attitude from a local operator should be causing such pragmatic disregard for existing plans.”

    From Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Today-Media/447088788677534?ref=hl

  • blackegg1 says:

    Watching Abbotsford City Council make another ill-advised decision is a lot like watching a perpetual game of pin the tail on the donkey.

    Onlookers are tempted to wish for a magically successful ending but the blunt truth is that can’t happen until after Council takes off its collective blinders.

    So far, Council has refused.

    So we’re left watching a deaf, dumb and blind Council jerking about while stabbing at success in the dark.

    Hard to watch

    • Bas Stevens says:

      Does having a residential development in a strip of land less than a quarter of a mile wide, bounded by a major north-south highway to the east and railway tracks and a switching yard to the west, make any sense at all?

      Both Sumas Way and Riverside are largely industrial. It certainly would not make any sense to have the area developed for residential housing. Continuing to allow industrial growth in the area makes good sense. The highway and rail lines are suitable for industrial deliveries and shipments.

      How many people are there who are capable of, or want to, “think outside the box”. The OCP is wrong for this area and, quite simply, should be amended to reflect industrial use. The entire corridor between the west side of Sumas Way to the east side of Riverside should be rezoned for industrial in use.

      • Karli says:

        Bas and Jay
        There is no plan for a residential development along the Sumas Way corridor. It is not zoned residential.
        This is about a local businessperson who owns two of the businesses involved and the land at Eldredge and Atkinson wanting to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent and construction revenue by inducing 2 other businesses to move.
        As the editor says…. “follow the money.”
        Avenue is owned by a Japanese multinational and PrairieCoast John Deere is a 10 store operation in BC and Alberta.
        Who’s putting the pressure on council?

  • blackegg1 says:

    @ Bas and Jay: Respectfully, the proposed development has nothing to do with the lands anywhere near Target/Costco & River Road.

    The proposed development is planned for Atkinson Road & Eldridge Roads. There are no services at that location for such development. Either the developer or the City would have to provide them to make it work. I’ll leave the outcome to your imagination. The area is residential and farming (mushroom barn nearby: Hoping Mike can post a map showing the correct location? ).

    The proposal looks a lot like a crap-shoot by a developer who may be hoping that City Council is still asleep at the wheel.

    City staff is awake on this one and it behooves Council to listen to their advisement this time.

    • Bas Stevens says:

      Karli & blackegg1, yes, you are correct.

      My fear of a proposal for the Atkinson-Eldridge area, already zoned residential, is that our Mayor and Council, at least some of them, will try to make another “deal”, another AESC or High Street, where it will cost the taxpayers of Abbotsford millions of dollars in deferred taxes, money that the city can ill afford to “give away”, so that a developer can, once again, “fleece” the city’s taxpayers.

      There is one place, and one place alone, for an agricultural equipment mall and that is on Sumas Way south of Highway 1.

  • Deceit in Drugs says:

    Bas Stevens says, one place for an agri-mall..south of Sumas Way.

    This presents a problem, once again, due to bad planning.

    We have big box stores, small commercial and agriculture related
    businesses and agri Industry, such as Avenue Farm machinery, all
    mixed together on Sumas Way.

    An agri mall would complement the ecodairy and Nature’s Pickins, but, where would it be located along Sumas Way, now, that we have the consumers going to Costco, Shoe Company, Target, Warehouse One, Winners…..like I said bad planning.

    What’s the push for an agri-mall…well the city is desperate for DCC’S
    to repay internal borrowing for water, sewer, roads etc.

    And in the rush to see more development monies, the city will once
    again, enter into bad planning…..it has a dominoe effect…more
    mixed up use zones in this city and of course more urban sprawl and
    more money put out by taxpayers for development infrastructure needs.

  • Patrick Stewart says:

    As someone employed in the ag sector, I find many of these comments ill-informed. Nobody seems to care about farmers in this city even though that is the industry that supports our local economy more than any other.

    Abbotsford needs equipment dealers and the services they provide to keep farms functioning.

    the City is changing and its no longer safe to take a tractor along Sumas Way, there is simply too much traffic. It’s time the City starts paying attention to supporting farmers and all of their policy documents on supporting a vibrant agricultural sector.

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