Editor, The News:
I thought it might be time again to pull out our favorite plan that was presented to council in-camera some years ago, when Kathy Morse was mayor.
It was received with great enthusiasm, until Jane Pickering doused it with cold water, saying that the priority was the downtown.
But that was then.
We know the kerfuffle that followed and the misguided process that led to nowhere but utter confusion – the blind leading the blind.
Our plan was really quite simple:
• Leave the north side of Albion to open space – park area, playing fields – enhance the fairgrounds to some degree and add some residential in defined areas.
• Reinvent the south side of Albion.
At this point there are, in my best guess, one and a half jobs per acre, so roughly 300 jobs. There should be 20 jobs per acre, easily.
• Add a new West Coast Express station in Albion to anchor the planned Port Kanaka.
This area would include a small village located between the station and the waterfront. It would include residential, support services and retail.
The basic idea here is that we provide housing for people working in the reinvented and densified industrial area.
This village would only occupy 20 per cent of the area, with the balance split between current industrial use, but augmented by business parks and light industry, possibly some incubator facilities.
With roughly 150 acres going to business at an average of 20 jobs per acre, that’s 3,000 jobs, with most of these probably walking to work.
• No shopping centre, per se, but locally operated businesses, with limited national brands.
Housing would be mostly condos with above ground parking, so that the ‘ground floor’ would be at dike level.
• The waterfront end of Main Street coming from the station would provide a Granville Island-type of environment, with a public square, market, restaurants, becoming a destination for folks from all around.
How many active waterfront areas do we have? Not many. We have a great opportunity here.
From our understanding, this vision has had a lot of support and would only take some political backbone to make it happen, because it is the right thing to do.
It doesn’t have to be exactly the way we saw it, only the principles in essence have to be adopted.
Maybe this idea can grow some legs, again.