The North Lougheed Study Area of Pitt Meadows represents a huge economic opportunity for the city, and city hall’s plans for the site will be dusted off by the new council.
It is a 51-hectare site, or 125 acres, in the northeast corner of the junction of Lougheed Highway and Harris Road. It is the largest green-grass development site in the city. Whatever goes there, it represents the potential for more employment, an increased tax base for the city, and a boon to the local economy.
Development of the site was contentious, with 33 hectares of it being protected farmland. Council received a petition with the names of 600 citizens opposing the development, and it became a political football.
SmartCentres wanted to develop 43 acres for shopping and another 19 for a business park. There were plans for big-box stores and a hotel. SmartCentres estimated the potential economic impact could be huge, if the entire area were a commercial development.
“It has the potential to create 600,000 square feet of new retail commercial space and two million square feet of mixed employment uses,” said Dave Major of SmartCentres. “This, in turn, could generate up to 1,200 new retail jobs and, more importantly, for a growing community like Pitt Meadows, over 9,000 new office and industrial jobs.”
Despite the economic potential, the last council voted to defer the project indefinitely.
Newly elected Mayor Bill Dingwall will put it back on the agenda.
“My intent would be to deal with that deferral – I don’t think there should be an indefinite deferral,” he added.
“It’s in our OCP [Official Community Plan]. I think it is an important growth opportunity for us, but we’ve just got to get it right,” he said, “in terms of zoning use and the B-Line.”
The B-Line bus will take passengers on an express route from Maple Ridge to Coquitlam Central Station where they can access Skytrain.
The development is reliant on building the North Lougheed Connector, a 3.6-km section or road running from Harris to Golden Ears Way.
SmartCentres had written council, saying it would be willing to pay for the road in 2013.
The interchange on the Lougheed Highway will need to be upgraded by the Ministry of Transportation, and there could be an opportunity to tie in access to the North Lougheed Connector to the intersection.
Dingwall said the North Lougheed site and other land use issues in Pitt Meadows will all be discussed as part of the city’s Official Community Plan review.
That 20-year blueprint for the city will be updated, with the review already underway, having started in May and two public events already held to invite residents to share their ideas and vision.
• More information for residents can be found at haveyoursaypittmeadows.ca.