Richmond City Coun. Carol Day apologized at Monday’s council meeting after suggesting a fellow councillor’s husband got “preferential treatment” in a development application.
A proposed large industrial development in east Richmond whose applicant, Terry McPhail, is the husband of Coun. Linda McPhail, was on the table at the council meeting for first reading.
(Coun. McPhail recused herself from the meeting during the discussion.)
Day was critical of the project on Graybar Road, highlighting tree issues and the potential loss of marine businesses, but when she pointed her criticism to the developer’s “connections to the city,” Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie called her remarks “inappropriate” and told her to retract her statements.
This was in reference to an unopened road allowance the developer would buy from the city. Day also referenced city land that some structures are currently encroaching on that the developer would be leasing, "at fair market value," according to city staff documents.
“I would call upon Councillor Day to remove or retract those remarks,” Brodie said.
When Day tried to explain herself, Brodie said he didn’t want her to “go into more details.”
“You have impugned the motivation of our city staff and the applicant and, now, maybe you didn’t communicate it the way you meant it,” Brodie added.
“If that was taken the wrong way, I apologize Mayor Brodie,” Day replied. “I would like to say, this is a very complicated project and there are so many pieces of it that I’m uncomfortable with.”
Day went on to say she wanted to refer the proposal back to city staff, saying she’d like something more inline with what currently exists, especially maintaining the marine businesses.
Brodie, however, cut her off again and said he wasn’t looking for “another speech,” adding if she wanted to make a referral, it could be done “in due course.”
The proposal from Farrell Estates is to consolidate several properties into two lots and build light industrial buildings in five phases. However, only the first two phases, with two buildings totalling almost 200,000 square feet, are planned for the near future whereas the rest of the project’s timeline hasn’t been determined yet.
Currently, the site has one building that is about 17,000 square feet and a few temporary structures.
Coun. Michael Wolfe took issue with the trees that will be cut down. One hundred and 10 trees, mainly birch and cottonwood, will be removed and replaced, four will be retained and 16 will be relocated.
The city’s Tree Protection Bylaw requires a 2:1 replacement of any good trees that are felled.
The Graybar Road proposal passed first reading with Couns. Wolfe and Day voting against it.