Zoning changes for the Ty-Crop expansion in Rosedale sailed through Tuesday night at Chilliwack city hall.
It took about two hours to cycle through three separate public hearings and public commentary before a crowd of about 60 in council chambers.
Neighbours complained about the lack of consultation, lack of trust, excessive noise, traffic concerns, and more.
Some expressed fears the Ty-Crop expansion was already “changing the face” of Rosedale, that it had been “defaced” while another said it had “gotten out of hand.”
One said Rosedale was “not a town anymore but an industrial park.”
Rezoning and official community plan changes for five properties owned by Ty-Crop Investments were given second, and third readings, and final approval in a unanimous vote of Chilliwack council.
“It will move us into the modern world,” said Ty-Crop co-owner Gary Teichrob, describing the expansion and modernization plan.
Company officials said the changes would mean progressive improvements for their operation, making things “quieter and greener” with new offices, parking space, equipment storage and a small sewage treatment plant.
The owner wanted to clear up any confusion.
“This has nothing to do with the agricultural property south of the railway tracks,” Teichrob said.
The rezonings were for properties north of the railway.
Some critics were already worried about proposals coming forth that would remove land from the Agricultural Land Reserve for the expansion.
But that was not on the agenda Tuesday night.
“Modern manufacturing facilities are built like this,” Teichrob said, referring to operations that will be brought indoors.
“We will ultimately be in one building on one side of the road,” he said.
“Finally it allows Ty-Crop it keep its headquarters in Rosedale,” the company rep said. “We believe these changes will make Rosedale an even greater place. We love it and will work with our neighbours to accommodate that goal.”
The fact that the zoning changes were effectively being made retroactively to bring some existing ones into compliance, was a source of annoyance for some in council chambers that night.
OCP changes shifted the designation from residential to industrial, and were considered “housekeeping” to “correctly reflect current uses on the properties,” according to a staff report.
One person requested a longer sidewalk from the school to the playground. Some were incensed about changes made on-site before they were officially approved council.
Several were dismayed by the demolition of heritage houses, including Yale Road resident Roger Tweedle.
“The village east of McGrath is being assaulted by demolition,” said Tweedle.
Rosedale’s historic buildings are the basis of its character.
“We can’t afford to lose a single one of them,” he said, displaying a photo of the Mercer House, which has been on that spot since 1900.
Most area residents who spoke were unconvinced of the positive aspects.
One speaker said he didn’t see anything “good” for Rosedale to come of it.
“I didn’t purchase my home to live in a commercial/industrial zone. I moved to Rosedale because of the mountain views. It’s changing rapidly.”
One resident said his “quality of life” was “shot” after being awoken every day at 1:30 a.m. by truck traffic.
“So I have a lot of anger,” he said.
A small sewage treatment plant was not just “proposed,” said McGrath resident Susan Payne, it was already put in place.
“I don’t feel any of the bylaws have been followed,” she added, saying Ty-Crop may have put the “cart before the horse,” in terms of creating additional parking space before the rezoning was approved.
Scott Mason, one of three Ty-Crop owners present at the meeting, said although the company could not have disclosed its plans earlier, until the expansion plans were “firm,” he said they are “always there to talk to neighbours.”
“Did we disclose all the way? No we didn’t, not until our plans were firm.”
He said Ty-Crop reps feel “badly” that some people feel they are “changing the culture” of Rosedale for the worse.
“Down the road I hope people will agree it’s a better community than it is today,” he said.
Coun. Jason Lum said “change is inevitable,” after the vote, but voiced a desire for the owners and neighbours to continue to talk out any issues.
“I think this plan is supportable,” he said, adding that a move out of Chilliwack for Ty-Crop, with the risk of losing 300 jobs, was not one he wanted council to take.
Mayor Sharon Gaetz said she agreed with her fellow council members that it wasn’t easy to pick up and move an established industrial operation.
“Frankly I’m glad you’re staying in Rosedale,” she said to Ty-Crop officials. “You’re part of the fabric in Rosedale.”
But she also had a few words of advice.
“The people who came out had strong things to say about the process,” Gaetz said. “You learned along the way.”
But from here on in, the “eyes” of Rosedale will be on Ty-Crop, and they will remain vigilant, “to ensure all the zoning bylaws and all the rules will be followed to the letter of the law,” she said.