The last major development in Pitt Meadows for the foreseeable future is in the works, after many delays.
The North Lougheed Study Area is a 50-hectare plot of land north of the Lougheed Highway at Harris Road.
Past Pitt Meadows councils have debated, planned and indefinitely deferred building on the site, in a series of processes that date back to the mid-1980s.
“This has been in the council playbook for 35 years,” noted Mayor Bill Dingwall.
The current council is coming up with a new plan that includes residential development – even towers, and the process appears to be moving forward.
SmartCentres, one of Canada’s largest developers of shopping centres, owns a significant portion of the site. That company is glad to see development plans moving ahead after the last council put the process on hold for four years.
“This opportunity to create a new community to complement the recent growth and future development demands and requirements of the City of Pitt Meadows is certainly unique within Metro Vancouver, and we’re excited to see it come to fruition,” said Mike Gilman SmartCentres Senior vice-president of development.
In 2011, a plan for mixed employment and retail-commercial development was prepared. However, in the intervening period of almost a decade, the perceived best use of that land has changed. There is seen to be little demand for commercial retail space, and the city has added residential buildings.
Towers would offer spectacular views of the Golden Ears Mountains and Pitt Lake, while allowing homeowners to take advantage of coming B-Line transit upgrades whisking commuters to SkyTrain connections.
Dingwall said the site can provide affordable housing, rental stock and seniors housing.
“We’re going to find housing for all income levels,” said the mayor.
It is at long last starting to take shape. The city has four draft concepts, and they include some common features:
• green belt along the northern edge;
• green spaces inside the development;
• pedestrian and cyclist overpass above the Lougheed Highway, for good north-south connectivity;
• medium and high-density residential buildings within walking distance of both transit and existing businesses;
• B-Line bus stops at Meadows Gardens Way/Park Road;
• mixed-use buildings along the Lougheed, designed to increase housing options and opportunities for businesses;
• medium-density residential along the Meadow Gardens Golf Course edge, to incorporate views;
• mixed-employment area to accommodate skilled employment, hospitality, commercial recreation and educational institutions.
Because much of the site is in the Agricultural Land Reserve, councils have had to work with the Agricultural Land Commission to have the site exempted.
They have secured exemptions with conditions, which include construction of a new road from Harris to Golden Ears Way.
That road is referred to as the North Lougheed Connector and is designed to provide a faster east-west route north of the Lougheed.
It would take traffic off Old Dewdney Trunk Road, which is frequently used by slow-moving farm vehicles.
The plans for the area are before the public, and the city will be taking online feedback until Dec. 2.
• Pitt Meadows residents can offer feedback online via the city’s civic engagement platform at haveyoursaypittmeadows.ca