News

Maple Ridge talking mall with Kwantlen

Kwantlen First Nation band councillors Les Anton and Tumia Knott, Steve Zuliani, Lawrence Rank, chairman of Property Development Group, with partner Keith McRae, and Kwantlen band chief Marilyn Gabriel and husband Kevin Kelly are ready to start building. - Colleen Flanagan/The News
Kwantlen First Nation band councillors Les Anton and Tumia Knott, Steve Zuliani, Lawrence Rank, chairman of Property Development Group, with partner Keith McRae, and Kwantlen band chief Marilyn Gabriel and husband Kevin Kelly are ready to start building.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/The News

The District of Maple Ridge can’t do anything about it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not talking to the Kwantlen First Nation about its new mall planned for band land on Lougheed Highway and 250th Street.

Negotiations have been ongoing between district staff, the band and consultants for the past several months, said Maple Ridge’s chief administrator Jim Rule.

“We’re basically talking the whole basket of services,” such as water, roads, police and fire, said Rule.

Kwantlen announced recently that work will start this year on a new shopping centre that will have a big anchor tenant by next year, spring of 2014 at the latest.

Property Development Group is working with Kwantlen First Nation on the 275,000-sq.-foot project.

“We obviously believe the opportunity is real and it’s now. We don’t need to wait a few years … for other approval or … third party events to happen. This site is ready now,” PDG chairman Lawrence Rank said previously.

Rule said the district is taking a business-like approach to the discussions and said the band will have to pay for the full costs of the services. Maple Ridge’s zoning bylaws and official community plan don’t apply.

“At the end of the day, Kwantlen First Nation has total control of their land,” adding that staff have a positive relationship with the First Nation that’s based in Langley.

The proposal is to have on-site, tertiary sewage treatment while water service will come from the Metro Vancouver-Maple Ridge system. A connection is possible nearby at the northwest corner of the Kwantlen land on the north side of Lougheed Highway.

The project is similar to others in the Lower Mainland.

Consultant Steve Zuliani said “all the costs [to the district] are covered,” by the band.

The shopping centre will be the first stage in a phased project that will include up to 450 homes on the north side of the highway and an eco-recreation area along the Fraser River on the band’s land, Indian Reserve No. 5.

Getting a new mall farther east on Lougheed Highway is fine with Leslie Sofarelli, with Residents for Smart Shopping which pressed for a mall in Albion flats, at 105th Avenue and Lougheed Highway.

“I don’t have any problem with it. I think it’s great.”

The district is waiting for an Agricultural Land Reserve exclusion application from the property owners on the west side of 105th Avenue to allow possible shopping development there.

But she said council keeps approving more housing developments and is not improving services.

Coun. Cheryl Ashlie said Maple Ridge has to keep in mind the community’s welfare as it negotiates with the band.

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