‘Pave most of connector property’

Or Smart!Centres would only help pay for smaller portion

  • Jun. 7, 2011 7:00 p.m.
Option C

Option C

A mall developer that owns large tracts of land along Lougheed Highway in Pitt Meadows is voicing its support to pave a large portion of the site.

In a letter to Pitt Meadows council, Smart!Centres stressed that any development which sets aside land for agriculture would see the company contribute much less towards the construction of an east-west road, proposed by the city to draw traffic off Old Dewdney Trunk.

The proposed road is also essential to service the undeveloped commercial strip, west of Meadow Gardens Way, as the province has refused to allow the city to create an access point along busy Lougheed Hwy.

“It is the only option that will provide Pitt Meadows with sufficient developable area to make the … construction of the road economically feasible,” wrote land development manager, Andrew Sinclair.

With a price tag of $10 million, excluding the cost of land acquisition, the proposed North Lougheed Connector is a thoroughfare the city doesn’t have the cash to pay for.

Smart!Centres owns or has the right to acquire the vast majority of land along the proposed connector.

The company suggests it could reach an agreement with city to set aside more than 17 acres of land for the road, or $4.5 million in infrastructure improvements, if it develops all the land it owns.

AECOM, the consultant leading a review of the North Lougheed land, has outlined three options for development along the 50.9 hectares (125 acres), much of it agricultural.

Residents who attended an open house on the study overwhelmingly supported the first choice, Option A, which sets aside 16 hectares (39.5 acres) for farming or other agricultural uses, like a land trust or food processing facility.

The second plan, Option B, sets aside 12 hectares (30 acres) for farming, while the third proposes developing the entire site.

The consultants believe only the third option would generate sufficient funds to build the 3.6 kilometre North Lougheed Connector, which would stretch from Harris Road to Golden Ears Way.

Council has yet to receive the final report from AECOM or pick a development option. The report is expected to be completed by mid-June.

In its letter, Smart!Centres urges council to “consider the value” of moving ahead with the third option.

Should council proceed with the other two options, wrote Sinclair, we would only be in a position to deliver a smaller portion of the connector road, which would not link Harris Road to Golden Ears Way.

Environmentalists, who strongly opposed development of the entire stretch and punching a road through prime farmland, believes Smart!Centres’ letter puts unnecessary pressure on council to vote one way.

“It’s very pushy,” said Pitt Polder Preservation Society president Diana Williams.

“Who are they to be dictating policy to council? It makes you wonder who has got the most influence here – Smart!Centres or the community?”