I read with interest that Onni have pulled out of the Safeway project at 13th and Lonsdale (Safeway Development Dead: Onni, Dec. 5, North Shore News).
I spoke at both the town hall and council meetings for the project and am totally, 100 per cent unconnected to Onni (the few who were acknowledged this fact prior to speaking).
This project and its associated benefits would have made a vast improvement to the area. The childcare and office space were a great idea. I would not have used either, but they would have been of general benefit to the community.
Now Onni takes its development dollars elsewhere and no doubt provides these benefits to another area of the Lower Mainland that's eager to accept them.
It's a shame that having 80 per cent of people speak in favour of a project is classified as "rigging" a public hearing. The people who spoke might have been younger folk, but they were there to have their voices heard and were ignored by a few council members who appear to think that they were somehow forced into speaking for the plan. I hope that, come the next municipal election, the people who came out in numbers to say "yes" will vote accordingly.
If a developer comes offering to improve an area and move it from 1962 to 2012, I say: Yes, be positive, work with them to improve the initial plan taking into account community feedback as happened here (three towers down to two, etc). Even residents of the Grande highrise right next to the Safeway site supported the final proposal. It took more than two years to arrive at that plan; the process was not rushed.
Now all we are left with is a 1960s-style waste of space surrounded by a potholed, ground-level car park as the central focus point of Lonsdale. This is a terrible shame. It's 2012, and time for this site to move into the same era.
I still cannot believe what finally happened and hope it's just a bad dream!
Blaine Barden North Vancouver