Funding for last phase of waterfront study approved

Final phase of study will gather all data into a final report to council

The final phase of the $411,000 waterfront feasibility study will go forward after council voted Monday to approve its $30,000 budget, with an amendment to consult with staff on particulars.

The vote followed a Jan. 11 presentation by study consultant Patrick Cotter.

Coun. Nelson Tilbury said he was disappointed by what he heard, saying there doesn’t appear to be much profit to be made for investors.

“I’d like something to be salvaged from the four hundred some odd thousand dollars we’ve spent here,” he said.

Tilbury said Tuesday he was initially hopeful about the waterfront plan but it seemed like the consultant was only telling council what they wanted to hear.

“Ted [Adlem] was right when he said it was a concept car,” he said, adding there’s no realistic chance of actually developing the waterfront in the scale and size planned within the next 40 to 50 years.

What they’re trying to do down there is bigger than Expo 86, and bigger than False Creek, he said. The councillor also said the waterfront hasn’t changed in the 38 years since he moved away and returned to the district, and the plan doesn’t address that.

Former councillor Mike Scudder praised council during question period Monday for approving the last phase, saying he expected them to defer the study.

Reached by telephone Tuesday, Scudder said the waterfront plan can be profitable, and that the consultant’s estimates of an 18 to 22 per cent return on investment will attract investors.

Without finishing the study the district can’t determine what the market pressure would be “in order to make the determination of whether a developer could make a profit or not,” he said.

Phase four of the waterfront plan is expected to take the cumulative findings of the previous phases and provide council with a final report on implementation.

Developing 150 acres along Mission’s floodplains is expected to require as much as $1.4 billion from investors, and significant municipal infrastructure upgrades.