Map shows the North Lougheed study area, with the North Lougheed Connector route that would link Harris Road to Abernathy Way in Maple Ridge.

North Lougheed planning starts again

Pitt Meadows staff to work on development alongside the OCP

Pitt Meadows council will work on a land use plan for its last big development alongside its review of the official community plan.

The guiding land use and planning document for the city is up for review this year.

Coun. Gwen O’Connell referred to it as “Our bible for our community.”

After council was briefed on work done so far, including the priorities of residents, Mayor Bill Dingwall forwarded a motion to give the North Lougheed study area special treatment.

He said early in the term, the new council removed an indefinite deferral of developing the North Lougheed study area, and proposed that staff be directed to conduct an area plan.

“That staff be directed to undertake a local area plan, in conjunction with the official community plan review, as a separate project,” was the motion, and it further directed staff to prepare a report outlining the scope and project objectives council’s consideration.”

“Really, what this does is allow planning to take place with the North Lougheed at the same time as the OCP, so they are moving concurrently together, and one will inform the other …” said Dingwall.

The area on the northern side of the highway, between Harris Road and Golden Ears Way, is the city’s last big kick at development for the foreseeable future.

Director of community services Lisa Grant said developers are interested.

“There’s been a lot of attention that’s turned to the North Lougheed lands since the removal of holding the application in abeyance indefinitely,” she said. “There has been a definite keen interest, and I think there is an obligation on the city to start looking at this area for some future local area planning.”

She said staff will update technical reports for the site, and revisit decisions with senior government.

A rezoning application by developer SmartCentres was indefinitely deferred by the last council in April of 2015. The company wanted to develop 43 acres for shopping and another 19 for a business/light industrial park at that time.

Grant said with council’s motion on Tuesday, city hall will not have to complete the OCP review before turning its attention to the North Lougheed.

“We will be able to take that project, look at how it aligns with the OCP, and how we want to bring those two projects forward, and bring them to a timely completion,” Grant said.

Dingwall said he has ideas for developing the site, but ultimately the developers will be making the financial investment.

“The developer is motivated, but likewise the city is,” he added, noting that the area ties in with infrastructure projects including the Harris/Lougheed intersection, a B-Line bus stop and even the Harris Road railway underpass.

Council has heard the community’s feedback on what the city should look like through the OCP review.

Work started last year, and Tuesday council approved a report from staff with a summary of community engagement so far, and a “draft OCP vision.”

There was a launch event on May 12 at the Pitt Meadows Family Recreation Centre, to educate the public about the process. That was followed by information booths set up on Earth Day, Pitt Meadows Day and Canada Day and other locations, to raise awareness about the review and collect input

They two key questions were: What do people value most in Pitt Meadows, and what do they want to see for the city’s future?

The city retained the Whistler Centre for Sustainability, a planning consultation company, to engage the community to help answer the two questions above.

There will be more OCP engagement activities in the coming months and weeks. In February, staff will have a consultant offer studies about the future outlook for industrial and commercial land uses. March will bring a housing and population growth forum.

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