A second public hearing for the controversial Onni development at the Lonsdale Safeway site is still on the books for the new year, though it appears it won't happen until February.
The revelation came up in some parting shots made by City of North Vancouver council members at their final meeting of the year Dec. 17. At issue for one council member was whether the second public hearing would withstand a legal challenge.
"There has been much reported in various news media, paper, radio etc, about this project and to put it mildly, accusations have been flying," said Coun. Rod Clark, who the developer put part of the blame on when it first announced it would kill the project. "There have been lots of things said on the radio and in print that would lead me to believe some minds are closed, and so I would ask for a legal opinion on the matter."
The remarks seemed to be targeted at Mayor Darrell Mussatto. "Council's direction has been quite clear. The majority of council said go to a second public hearing. While I may not agree with it, I will certainly uphold that and I would request that applicant come back to attend a second public hearing. I think we need to make a decision . . .," Mussatto said.
The city had already received a legal opinion from its lawyers that a second public hearing would be appropriate so long as council members keep an open mind on the project.
Coun. Pam Bookham joined in the fray, indicating she and Clark were unfairly cast as anti-development in comments made by the mayor, despite the $200 million in development permits issued by the city in 2012.
"Were you aware of most of that $200-million worth of development was supported by the majority on council and in many instances, unanimously?" she asked. "That being the case, I wondered why you felt it necessary to state in public, for the record that you believe there are certain members of council who want to see development stopped. It doesn't seem consistent with our record."
Mussatto declined to answer.