Planning Committee Meeting Minutes - September 19, 2000





Tuesday, September 19, 2000


Anderson Room

Richmond City Hall


Councillor Malcolm Brodie, Chair

Councillor Bill McNulty, Vice-Chair

Councillor Linda Barnes

Councillor Lyn Greenhill

Councillor Harold Steves

Call to Order:

The Chair called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m.




That the minutes of the meeting of the Planning Committee held on Wednesday, September 6, 2000, be adopted as circulated.




(Report: August 29/00, File No.: 8060-20-7108) (REDMS No. 157219)

The City Solicitor, Paul Kendrick, reported that use of a dedicated road or dyke is controlled by the City whereas a City held statutory right of way is governed by the terms of the agreement.

Councillor Steves then referred to the BC Packers site and pointed out that when the City calculates DCC credits for BC Packers, the value of the existing dyke right-of-way which the City is "giving up" should be taken into account along with the provision of the Dyke Maintenance Act.

It was moved and seconded

That the report of the City Solicitor be received for information.




(RZ 00 173517) (Report: September 1/00, File No.: 8060-20-7060 and 7161)

(REDMS No. 172738, 183256, 183252, 183776)

Holger Burke, Development Coordinator, reviewed the report with the Committee. He noted the differences of the I2 and I3 zoning, and then the objective of reducing the traffic on Dyke Road. It is proposed to open up the Queens Road right of way. A future extension to the east is hoped for.

Councillor Greenhill questioned whether changing the landscaping in the Queens Road area was a maintenance issue for the City. Mr. Burke responded no, it would in fact be easier for the maintenance crews already there at present. He confirmed that Hamilton Road would not be closed.

It was moved and seconded


That Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 7160, to amend Attachment 3 to Schedule 1 of Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 7100 as shown in Schedule A attached to and forming part of Bylaw No. 7160, be introduced and given first reading.


That Bylaw No. 7160, having been examined in conjunction with the Capital Expenditure Program, the Waste Management Plan, the Economic Strategy Plan, and the 5 Year Financial Plan, is hereby deemed to be consistent with said program and plans, in accordance with Section 882(3) of the Municipal Act.


That Bylaw No. 7160, having been examined in accordance with the City Policy No. 5002 on referral of Official Community Plan Amendments, is hereby deemed to have no effect upon an adjoining Municipality nor function or area of the Greater Vancouver Regional District, in accordance with Section 882(3)(d) and (e) of the Municipal Act.


That Bylaw No. 7161, for the rezoning of 23231 Hamilton Road, and 23211 & 23251 Dyke Road from "Light Industrial District (I2)" to "Business Park Industrial District (I3)", be introduced and given first reading.




(AG 00-176704) (Report: September 6/00, File No.: AG 00-176704) (REDMS No. 184349)

Mr. Burke noted the Executive Summary and Appendices and the Supplementary Agenda and briefly reviewed the report.

Mr. Kim Hart, Sungold Entertainment Corporation, then acknowledged the attendance of Mr. Brian Wallace, Transportation Consultant from ND Lea Consultants Ltd.

Mr. Wallace clarified that what has been completed to date is a traffic overview, a preview of the issues that would be addressed further into the process. In sizing up the traffic issues related to making traffic work in this location it was determined the road system would have to be supplemented. A half diamond interchange on Highway 91 seemed feasible, and approval, with conditions, has been received in principal from the Ministry of Transportation and Highways. The potential eastern extension of Blundell was not included in the determination.

Councillor Greenhill questioned whether the traffic mitigation would suffice to support the Fraserport lands. Mr. Wallace responded that some of the Westminster traffic would find Highway 91 a better choice. He confirmed for Councillor Greenhill that the overview did not consider, in numerical terms, future requirements.

Councillor Brodie then questioned the appropriateness of the Planning Committee being asked to approve the application based on such preliminary information. Mr. Hart responded that it would be premature to complete an indepth study without determining, for example, if the off ramp is acceptable to the Land Reserve Commission.

Councillor Brodie questioned whether other issues raised in the report have been addressed and also whether the shuttle bus proposal had been examined.

Mr. Hart said the numbers for the shuttle bus work and that they had expensed the item into their projections.

Mr. Hart went on to make a brief presentation of the proposal, noting that his team would be subsequently available for answering any questions.

During the presentation Mr. Hart explained that he was there to represent an industry that supports 1300 farms in the Province which in turn support 7000 people. The right facility would keep the industry in the Province. The application, he said, is complex because of its uniqueness, and is a good opportunity for Richmond. Richmond is favoured because of its proximity to the airport and the highway system, its closeness to the infrastructure and the soil quality.

Mr. Hart stated that the letters received represent approximately 10,000 people by association. Farmers see an opportunity to diversify their operations. Mr. Hart is appreciative of the hard work undertaken by staff in completing their report. This proposal, he said, is not an expansion of gambling but rather relocation of an existing facility. Wagering receipts are 100% reinvested into the industry.

Mr. Hart referred to a scale diagram when presenting the following information;

The proposed facility would include -

  • 20 barns of a world class level
  • 3 racetracks - 1.25 mile, 1 mile turf course and a sand based training track
  • a backstretch that involves 25 percent of the property
  • pre/post race testing by Agriculture Canada
  • tight security level
  • all lights facing inward
  • the raising, training and racing of horses
  • a weekend farmers market
  • commitment to Richmond first in the purchasing of product
  • 6.5 percent of net earnings to go back to the City by way of a foundation
  • a paddock connected to the track by a glass tempered walkway through the grandstand
  • no casino
  • a cycle centre
  • an equine hospital
  • 5000 parking stalls
  • grandstand capacity of 15,000 with further capacity of 10,000 on the infield for major event

When asked by Councillor Greenhill to explain virtual racing Mr. Hart clarified that it is computer generated video gaming.

Councillor Brodie asked whether the plans included a casino. Mr. Hart responded that there are no plans for a casino and that he would request a covenant to this effect be part of the re-zoning requirement.

Mr. Sean Borock of PCL Construction, 12391 Horseshoe Way, was then introduced along with Ms. Evaline Wolterson, Eveco Consultants Ltd., the lead soil scientist.

Mr. Borock noted that PCL has been a Richmond based contractor for 25 years. They are the largest contractor in Canada and 10th largest in North America. PCL has just completed a racetrack in West Virginia, and started one in Calgary. Mr. Borock said he thought the proposal would be a great asset to the community.

Ms. Wolterson stated that she does considerable work with the Land Commission. She noted that this has been the most difficult project that she has worked on that involves the ALR. As a result of the intensive research into the land and the industry, Ms. Wolterson has concluded that Richmond is the best locale for the project. She recommended Option 3 of the staff report, namely taking the proposal to the Land Reserve Commission for their input.

Councillor Greenhill asked why the loss of farming of the land had not been addressed. Ms. Wolterson replied that the racetrack provides for a different nature of farming, ie. intensive livestock, a huge agricultural activity that goes beyond the track.

Councillor Steves then questioned whether the parking lot and barn area could be returned to agricultural land. Ms. Wolterson confirmed that the Turf Club and parking lot are the biggest areas of soil disturbance. The barns have no soil disturbance, with the exception of the perimeter foundation. In the areas of soil disturbance the top soil would be stripped and removed to other areas of the site. The subsoil would then be infiltrated with a plastic material and covered with a gravel material. To reverse this, the plastic and gravel material would be stripped off and replaced with top soil. It is always possible to reclaim land but it is expensive.

Ms. Wolterson was then asked by Councillor Steves for her opinion on the impact for farms not involved in the proposal. Ms. Wolterson did not see an impact. The point of the Land Reserve Commission is to sustain agriculture. Richmond needs more diversification. The native boglands will stay in berry production, but it would be advantageous to get into another sector.

The ensuing discussion then determined that if more information was required by Planning staff the logical step would be to refer the proposal to the Land Reserve Commission. Noise would not be expected to impact the surrounding area as much as dust. There is one other site in Richmond that could be appropriate, however, the owners were not interested.

The discussion on the merits of removal of agricultural land for the benefit of the industry continued between the Chair and Ms. Wolterson.

Mr. Bruce May, 5220 No. 8 Road, has been farming in this area since 1972. He is concerned that his cranberry farm would be affected by the proposed traffic modifications, and that trespass, vandalism and theft would impact the liveability of the area. It was Mr. Mays opinion that if liveability and viability were taken away other applications for removal could be anticipated.

Mr. Albert Wei, 5900 Kartner Road, Manager of Admissions and Customer Service for Hastings Park Racetrack, spoke in support of his neighbours opposed to the proposal. He said Mr. Hart was not speaking on behalf of Hastings Park when he stated the racetrack had to move. Mr. Wei stated that Hastings Park is in the third year of a twenty year agreement with the City of Vancouver. He further stated that the business of horseracing is first and foremost a gaming society. Simulcast racing comprises a large part of the business, and utilizes late night hours 5 days a week. Further, Hong Kong racing takes place 44 weekends a year during the hours of 9:30 pm until 3:30 am PST, with approximately 1500 people in attendance.

Ms. Frances Clark, 8160 Railway Avenue, spoke in favour of the proposal. She stated that farming and racing were always compatible and a part of Richmond's Heritage. Ms. Clark also felt that the racetrack would improve the tax base and provide an opportunity to better design the freeway, as she is concerned about emergency service from No. 6 Road to Hamilton.

Mr. Bob Ransford, 5071 Steveston Highway, also noted that horse racing is a proud part of Richmond's Heritage. However, he said Council must maintain its policy of not furthering gaming and that the benefits that could be achieved from this proposal were outweighed by the conflict of land use.

During the discussion that ensued Mr. Ransford identified the DND property or the transmitter sites as other possible locations for the proposal. He also offered the opinion that paramutual forms of gambling would increase other undesirable activity in Richmond.

Mr. Robert Kirk, 17231 Westminster Highway, expressed concern at the potential loss of productive land for a racetrack. His property was purchased for the quiet locale. He also mentioned the wildlife population of the area, coyotes, deer and birds, noting that they are making a comeback.

Ms. Marlene Hart, 6692 Gibbons Drive, said she has been a realtor in Richmond for thirty years. Farmers in this area of Richmond cannot sell their farms and they cannot subdivide. The lack of drainage on the eastern portion leaves it wet and less viable than the dryer southwestern portion. Not every farmer wants to stay with cranberry or blueberries. Multifarm use would be a tolerant approach.

Ms. Hart then stated that new business for Richmond would be a godsend. She said Sungold wished to have a covenant on the agreement - horse racing only and keep the land within the ALR. She asked the Committee to not make decisions on what they have heard without verifying the information.

Mr. Todd May, 14511 Cambie Road, speaking on behalf of himself and other family members, said that he is a 22 year old, 5th generation farmer on the family property on No. 8 Road. The farm is worked by his father, mother, brother, sister and himself. Although he attended University to study Economics, he is back on the farm because it is what he loves to do. He feels that the way of farm and community life would be significantly impacted by the proposal and that land expropriation could again be anticipated. He said he wanted his children to have the opportunity to be the sixth generation of farmer.

Ms. Tara McDiarmid, 17011 Fedoruk Road, has been an area resident for 20 years. It is her belief that the racetrack is an inappropriate use of this land and opposes removal of the land from the reserve. She said pressure would be increased for other parcels to be taken out, and that farm operation would become more difficult.

Mr. Kim Hart stated that it is illegal to own racing dates in BC. He said that the Hastings Park facility is not adequate, and that it is facilities that drive a lot of business. There is clear emphasis that a new facility is required and that the industry depends on this. Richmond has the opportunity for a world class track. He mentioned that business has a case for this proposal that has not been discussed - revenues in the hotel industry alone have dropped by 50 million dollars. He reiterated that the letters received represent 10,000 constituents.

In answering a question from the Chair Mr. Hart clarified the racetrack hours and that there would be no casino.

It was moved and seconded

That authorization for Sungold Entertainment Corp. to apply to the Land Reserve Commission for a horse racetrack at 6220 and 6131 No. 8 Road be denied.

Prior to the question being called, Councillor Barnes said that she failed to see that this would be an agricultural use of the land. She was also not convinced that the proposal would enhance farming in Richmond. The people who spoke, she said, were representatives of those in Richmond who had a wish to see viable farming remain. The proposal would bring further urbanization and traffic to the area. If this proposal had come forward not attached to land in the ALR she would have had a different thought, however, in this circumstance she favoured the recommendation.

Councillor McNulty said he thought the location and economics of this proposal would be good for Richmond, but that the confidence of the community is to not expand gambling. Further, there is a need to continue to support soil based farming in Richmond. Councillor McNulty said he saw limited economic benefit to residents of Richmond, and that many of the business owners referred to do not reside in Richmond.

Councillor Greenhill noted that the start of the ALR in 1972 was a Catch-22 in that the land cannot be split up and must be farmed. While Richmond was in the unique position of receiving a well thought out, intriguing proposal, many detrimental pressures would be incurred, ie. noise, traffic etc.

Councillor Steves, while noting the nostalgic appeal of a racetrack, said he didn't want to see a dismantling of the farm community where land has been in families for generations.

Councillor Brodie stated that, while the business case was spectacular, he was concerned by the incompleteness of the proposal. The fact this facility is so critical to the racing industry should not be factored into Richmond's point of view. The land in question is there because of the ALR. This proposal would be an expansion of gaming in Richmond which would be contrary to the commitments Council members have made. The number one policy of the OCP is to preserve farmland - therefore there is no other choice but to support the staff recommendation.

The question was then called and it was CARRIED.


That the meeting adjourn (7:31 p.m.).




Certified a true and correct copy of the Minutes of the meeting of the Planning Committee of the Council of the City of Richmond held on Tuesday, September 19, 2000.



Councillor Malcolm Brodie


Deborah MacLennan

Administrative Assistant