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2001 Agendas & Minutes

Public Hearing Minutes - April 17, 2001



Tuesday, April 17, 2001



Council Chambers
Richmond City Hall
6911 No. 3 Road


Mayor Greg Halsey-Brandt
Councillor Linda Barnes
Councillor Malcolm Brodie
Councillor Derek Dang
Councillor Kiichi Kumagai
Councillor Bill McNulty
Councillor Harold Steves

David Weber, Acting City Clerk


Councillor Lyn Greenhill
Councillor Ken Johnston

Call to Order:

Mayor Halsey-Brandt opened the proceedings at 7:00 p.m.

(Applicant: Home Depot Holdings Inc.)

Applicants Comments:

Mr. Andrew Pottinger, Community Relations Manager, Home Depot, advised that a group of technical people were present to summarize the technical information provided to date. Mr. Pottinger first introduced Mr. Glen Bingley, Area Manager for the Lower Mainland.

Mr. Bingley said that Home Depot customers were frustrated at not being able to complete their projects and that store associates found it difficult to explain the bylaw restrictions to those customers.

Mr. Andrew Pottinger referred to the number of customers attending the Richmond Home Depot who expected to find the same products offered at other Lower Mainland Home Depot stores. Mr. Pottinger then reviewed the material contained in the Home Depot submission attached to the staff report.

Mr. Phil Boname, who had provided the economic impact information, referred to the uniqueness of Richmond as Richmond exemplified growth in the areas of population, ageing, education and increasing income and that these growths were reflected in the growth of garden centre expenditures. Mr. Boname indicated that the growth in expenditures allowed for growth in the market which would lessen the impact of the Home Depot share of the market.

Ms. Mustel, McIntyre Mustel Research Ltd., presented the results of the third party survey of residents conducted at the request of Home Depot. A copy of the procedure and results of the survey is on file in the City Clerks Department.

Mr. Pottinger provided the Acting City Clerk with a Petition containing 2040 signatures of customers who had attended the Richmond Home Depot. The Petition is attached as Schedule 1 and forms a part of these minutes.

Written Submissions:

Stella Lee - 8720 Bairdmore Crescent - attached as Schedule 2.

S.U.C.C.E.S.S. - 220 - 7000 Minoru Boulevard - attached as Schedule 3.

Oak Residents Association - 1000-8888 Odlin Crescent - attached as Schedule 4.

Richmond Caring Place Society - 140 - 7000 Minoru Boulevard - attached as Schedule 5.

Carol Thiessen - 11631 Seahurst Road - attached as Schedule 6.

Lu Rahman - 8111 No. 5 Road - attached as Schedule 7.

Susan Spurrel and Tony Thomas - 210 - 7453 Moffat Road - attached as Schedule 8.

H. Kang Farm and Greenhouse - 6240 No. 5 Road - attached as Schedule 9.

Submissions from the floor:

Mr. Jack Ho, 12500 McNeely Drive, Co-chair, I4 Greener group, stated that Home Depot was good for the local economy and contributed to the beautification of Richmond. Mr. Ho said that he appreciated the free gardening seminars sponsored by Home Depot.

Ms. L. Jenken, 11219 Daniels Road, spoke in support of the proposed zoning amendment. Ms. Jenken felt that Home Depot was of benefit to area businesses due to the number of people it brought into the area. As a business person Ms. Jenken was sympathetic to Art Knapps, Jones and other nurseries but she felt that their focus must change to more specialty products and that retail space must be optimized. Ms. Jenken also felt that an opportunity was available for the nurseries to expand their wholesale operations. Ms. Jenken concluded by noting that consumers should have as much choice as possible, that competition was what the world was about, and that one-stop shopping was beneficial.

Mr. Mac Foster, 5531 Cornwall Drive, owner of the Home Hardware on Elmbridge Way, said he was not in agreement with the information provided by Mr. Pottinger and that he took exception to certain information provided in the staff report. Mr. Foster felt that the addition of Home Depot to the Richmond market had had a detrimental affect on the industry and that the addition of a gardening centre at Home Depot would have a detrimental affect on the gardening industry.

Mr. Doug Louth, 4140 Dallyn Road, provided a brief history of Home Depot and said he was not in favour of the proposed zoning amendment. Mr. Louth questioned information, provided by Home Depot, found in the staff report. Mr. Louth referred to figures provided in a report prepared by the BC Landscape and Nursery Association in 1999, to dispute Mr. Pottingers information. Mr. Louth referred to the Bridgeport Area Plan, in particular, the objective to protect the area for industrial use. Given that objective, he questioned why Home Depot would purchase land in an industrial zone. He also thought that Home Depot should have to apply for a commercial zone which would then relieve the tax payer of the burden of subsidizing Home Depot taxes.

Mr. Don Wilson, owner of TSC Nursery along with his wife, said he had seen many changes in the industry over the years and that their business had evolved to keep up with the changes. Mr. Wilson stated that his nursery supplied numerous Home Depots in the Lower Mainland with the exception of the Richmond location. Mr. Wilson said that he did not understand why outdoor gardening supplies had been excluded from the wording of the I4 zone as they are a major component of home improvements.

Mr. Rahman, 8111 No. 5 Road, said his wife operated a small plant shop and greenhouse on No. 5 Road. Mr. Rahman read the letter that is attached as Schedule 7.

Ms. Jane Stock, Executive Director, BC Landscape Nursery Association, referred to an Association Board meeting held the previous evening at which wholesale growers, landscapers and retail nurseries from across the Province were represented. The result at the end of the Board meeting discussion on this issue was an understanding from all three sectors that the playing field should be fair, and that, in order to keep the tax base fair for all retailers, the application should be turned down.

Mr. Sandhar, 10660 Ashcroft Avenue, a member of the BC Nursery Trades Association, was opposed to the zoning amendment as he believed it would negatively impact the farming industry. Mr. Sandhar said that while he could compete with the pricing of London Drugs, Safeway etc., as they sold at reasonable prices, he could not compete with Home Depots pricing because it was his opinion that Home Depot sold below cost.

Ms. S. Johnston stated that she has worked in the gardening industry for nine years, the last four being at Home Depot. Ms. Johnston said she had been treated with nothing but respect by Home Depot and that she felt if the amendment were passed it would create further opportunities for her.

Ms. M. Flint, Assistant Buyer of Live Goods for Home Depot, also stated that Home Depot was a very good employer. Ms. Flint said that Home Depot did not compete for the majority of garden centre customers as it provided for the modest needs of the inexperienced gardener. Ms. Flint said that, other than "end of season/closeout" sales, Home Depot never sold plants at below cost prices, but rather utilized large volume purchasing and low profit margins to provide competitive pricing.

Mr. David Chow, of Eddies Farm Market on No. 5 Road, said his business would be negatively impacted by the zoning amendment and that, therefore, he was opposed to the amendment. Mr. Chow said that he had submitted his catalogue to Home Depot three times but had not received a response.

Ms. Maskall, one of the owners of the Prickly Pear Garden Centre in Steveston, provided a petition which included names obtained at her store and also from other Centres. The Petition is attached as Schedule 10.

Ms. C. Nieholdt, 205-7480 Gilbert Road, said that she believed the nurseries would adapt to the market change should the proposed amendment be approved. Ms. Nieholdt, a Home Depot employee for the last year, compared the difference in pricing of similar type plants over the Easter weekend at Home Depot and at Art Knapps. It was stated that Home Depot provided excellent service to its customers and was an excellent employer.

Mr. George Thiessen, 6260 Dylan Place, did not think that the small growers would be able to keep up with the retail demand and he saw no reason that Home Depot should be unfairly restricted. Mr. Thiessen questioned the difference in the tax rate between I4 and commercial zones.

The Manager, Zoning, Alan Clark, advised that the mill rate for the I4 zone was the same as for a commercial C6 zone.

Mr. Dave Wright, a sales rep who lived in Ladner, read the letter, which appears on the Public Hearing agenda, written by Mr. Duplessis, CCI Coast. Mr. Wright said that, on a level playing field, the consumers would drive the market and not the manufacturers.

Mr. Cliff Chang, President, Chinese InfoMedia Consultant Group, said he had been retained by Richmond Home Dept to deal with their application in relation to the local immigrant communities. Two years ago, Mr. Chang organized and offered gardening seminars for new immigrants who had no experience in gardening. Mr. Chang said that interest was expressed for entry level products being available at Home Depot where they received the information. Mr. Chang said that there were two reasons why the group supported the application: I) the Asian community considered competition in the marketplace to be the norm, and ii) one-stop shopping.

Mr. Roy Van Hest, an owner and operator of Art Knapps Plantland in Richmond, read his previous submission, which is attached as Schedule 11, on this issue. Mr. Van Hest questioned whether Home Depot was paying a commercial tax rate. He also mentioned that the issue was not only bedding plants, but the 500 gardening related items that would be available at Home Depot.

Mr. John Wong, representing the Oaks Association, spoke in favour of competition and said that Richmond residents should have a choice as to where they purchase their products.

Mr. Jack Van Buekenhout, a Steveston resident, supported the zoning amendment. Mr. Van Buekenhout stated that Home Depot draws him by having knowledgeable staff that provide excellent customer service. He was also in favour of one-stop shopping.

Mr. Jones, Jones Nurseries, said he was disappointed in the recommendation from staff that went to Planning Committee. Mr. Jones thought that the numbers provided in the Home Depot statistics contained in the staff report were inaccurate and insupportable. It was stated that there had been no substantial price increase in plant material over the last ten years. Mr. Jones concluded by stating that it would be unfair to grant a variance for the sole benefit of one retailer when all other retailers were against it.

Mr. Doug Louth read a letter, attached as Schedule 12, submitted by Craig Asselstine, 140 - 5671 No. 3 Road.

A letter, attached as Schedule 13, was read on behalf of Sheila Gow, 7631 Steveston Highway.

Mr. B. Yan, a Hamilton-area resident, with the aid of translation by Mr. Chang, said that he had attended a gardening talk organized by the Richmond Chinese Community Society. He said that he now enjoyed gardening and that he has shopped at Jones Nurseries, Art Knapps etc. to purchase his supplies. Mr. Yan said that the only place he could not get his supplies was at the store that had provided the free advice.

Mr. M. Chiang, Tim Chiang Garden Centre on No. 5 Road, was not in favour of the proposed zoning amendment as he felt it would mean a loss of business. A petition, attached as Schedule 14, was submitted.

Helen, a Richmond resident, felt that people should be open-minded and allow Home Depot a change to compete.

Supplementary Presentations

Mr. Roy Van Hest, Art Knapps Plantland, referred to the estimated values provided by the Home Depot consultants and asked why real figures had not been provided, especially the amount that Home Depot actually sold in green goods. He also questioned: i) Home Depots development of a gardening club, with a paid consultant, when they did not sell plants; and ii) the zoning structure.

Mr. Phil Boname provided further clarification of the information contained in the report, some of which was based on information published by Census Canada.

Mr. Foster provided the figures on the difference between I4 and Commercial land value at the time Home Depot purchased its land. He also stated that the consumer would not be well served by one dominant player.

Mr. Sandhar pointed out that no independent farmers, who rely on the farming industry, support the Home Depot application.

Mr. Louth asked: i) whether Home Depot would apply for Commercial zoning, and ii) to be apprised of the difference in tax rate between industrial and commercial use.

Ms. Mustel clarified the use of "Bridgeport Road" in the wording of the questionaire used in the survey conducted on behalf of Home Depot. She added that the wording of the survey had been approved by City staff.

Mr. Pottinger responded to the issue of Home Depot being zoned I4 and not Commercial. He indicated that Home Depot paid the same mill rate as all other retailers. Mr. Pottinger concluded by noting that garden centres throughout the Lower Mainland had not been negatively impacted by the addition of Home Depot stores and that he did not feel that Richmond would be any different.


It was moved and seconded

That Zoning Amendment Bylaw 7218 be given second and third readings.

Prior to the question being called Councillor Dang and Councillor McNulty asked that clarification of the tax rates that apply to I4 and Commercial zones be provided prior to adoption of the bylaw. The question was then called and it was CARRIED with Mayor Greg Halsey-Brandt OPPOSED.



It was moved and seconded

That the meeting adjourn (10:48 p.m.).




Certified a true and correct copy of the Minutes of the Regular Meeting for Public Hearings of the City of Richmond held on Tuesday, April 17, 2001.



Mayor (Greg Halsey-Brandt)

Acting City Clerk (David Weber)

07.16.04 14:36
1/1/1900 12:00:00 AM