Preliminary artist rendering of outlet mall on Sea Island.

Preliminary artist rendering of outlet mall on Sea Island.

Airport’s luxury mall plan draws fire from Metro reps

YVR strategy for retail mecca on Sea Island questioned

Vancouver International Airport’s plan to build a large destination shopping mall on Sea Island is raising eyebrows with some Metro Vancouver politicians.

Vancouver Coun. Geoff Meggs told Metro’s transportation committee Thursday he found it “depressing” the giant luxury outlet mall is on a Metro list of regionally significant infrastructure projects.

“I’d like to think that’s not what the airport had in mind when they made the Canada Line investments,” he said, referring to YVR’s contribution allowing an extra station to be built on the SkyTrain spur to the airport.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan also questioned why the airport is shifting its focus from air cargo and travel-related projects.

“I think it’s time to say whether we really want to create a new town centre at the airport,” he said.

The 460,000-square-foot outlet mall, featuring European and American designer and mainstream brands, is to be built near Templeton Station.

The airport authority expects much of the traffic would come to the mall via the Canada Line.

Richmond Mayor Brodie said a previously proposed location on Russ Baker Way far from the rapid transit line made less sense given YVR’s $200-million-plus contribution to the Canada Line.

While the Templeton site is much better, he noted it will still pull shoppers away from the main No. 3 Road commercial corridor in Richmond and added his council still questions the overall logic.

“We really don’t understand why the airport is in the business of a retail mall,” Brodie said.

YVR expects to earn revenue from what it has deemed to be surplus land.

Brodie said site preparation is already underway.