Onni daycare negotiations sign of bigger problem: McNulty

Childcare centre has council's full support but awaits a public hearing July 18

Daycare operators have inched forward in their quest to make history as the first commercial tenants of Steveston’s beleaguered boardwalk at Imperial Landing.

And while on Monday Richmond city councillors unanimously passed the first reading of a “spot rezoning” application by the City of Richmond to accommodate Generation Daycare at the Onni development this September, Coun. Bill McNulty expressed further frustrations at how the developer is operating.

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“It seems right here Onni is driving the truck. An agreement has been made, exclusivity given and we haven’t even rezoned,” said McNulty, noting Generation Daycare’s five-year lease handshake agreement, despite no formal approval from the city.

“So, it’s rather interesting; so good luck with that one on our negotiations with Onni. They’ll come back with the same and that bothers me very, very much,” said McNulty. 

At issue is the fact the buildings at Imperial Landing are zoned “maritime mixed-use,” which does not include childcare. 

However, a childcare licence could soon be permitted for the company following a July 18 public hearing, which may formally approve the special rezoning, thus accommodating the soon-to-be evicted daycare. 

The agreement means Generation can expand its operation, from its current 3,400 square-foot site on Trites Road to a 5,600 square-foot second floor room of the second easterly Imperial building.

Meantime, what is to be done with the rest of the dormant buildings remains up in the air, as the city negotiates community amenity fees with Onni in exchange for more profitable commercial rezoning.

McNulty said the city needs to give its “head a shake” if it thinks it will get what it wants from Onni. 

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