Escrow agreement for Southwest Mission cancelled

Genstar and Madison propose changes to Phased Development Agreement

The District of Mission is cancelling the escrow agreement with developers Genstar and Madison to eliminate a zoning gap that could potentially exist in Southwest Mission.

The escrow agreement was executed in 2009 shortly after the 20-year Phased Development Agreement (PDA) was signed. Its purpose was to allow the developers to make changes to the PDA in the future as that was deemed a time-sensitive matter at the time, according to a district staff report.

The area covered under the PDA is known as Neighbourhood One and was given a more dense urban zoning when the PDA was signed. The PDA gives Genstar/Madison certainty that the properties would not be rezoned while it is in effect, and the district is assured certain amenities from the developers.

“The PDA and zoning are linked,” explained Mission’s Chief Administrative Officer Ken Bjorgaard.

The escrow agreement, in short, would allow Genstar/Madison to dissolve the PDA from July 31, 2013 to July 31, 2014, a time frame known as the “filing period.” During this time, the developers could have the no-build covenants removed from the lands and the district would not have enough time to rezone the properties before a subdivision application was submitted.

As well, if the PDA went away, so would the agreed upon amenities, such as potable water to Silverdale School and Silverdale Hall, a community meeting plaza, parks and trails, public works land, transit land, land for a community centre, and heritage plaques and kiosk.

“We have control over what’s happening with the property now,” said Mayor Ted Adlem. “It’s a safeguard for the taxpayers of Mission and we want to see Gentar move forward in a positive way.”

The solution was developed by the district along with Genstar and Madison after the developers proposed changes to the PDA. District staff have not reviewed the suggestions in detail yet and were waiting for the zoning gap to be addressed, said Bjorgaard.