‘McBarge’ will fit past CPR bridge

Public speculation about the barge's ability to squeak past the swing bridge addressed

The proposed Sturgeons on the Fraser project drawing.

The developer behind the plan to bring a floating restaurant to Mission has confirmed the former Expo ’86 McDonald’s restaurant will fit past the Canadian Pacific Railway crossing.

Howard Meakin said he was assured by Catherwood Towing the barge will fit through the swing bridge opening.

“That was one of my first questions when I looked at Mission three years and eight months ago,” he said.

The CPR bridge is 25 feet above the Fraser River right now, and about 65 feet wide between supporting columns, which led to speculation whether the 32-foot-high and 50-foot-wide barge would fit.

But according to Ernie Catherwood, the bridge swings open at the south end and leaves ample room.

He said the opening is at least 85 feet high and 95 feet wide when the bridge is open, facts corroborated by CPR.

Nevertheless, Meakin said it will be best to bring the barge to Mission in the winter season when river water levels are low, after the freshette subsides and the snow pack freezes again at the Fraser headwaters.

He said the barge might fit under the bridge without going through the swing when the water levels are low, but not in spring and early summer.

“The statistics are that the river rises considerably. It probably rises about 16 to 18 feet during that period.”

Meakin received second and third reading of the foreshore portion of his Sturgeon’s on the Fraser project at public hearing Jan. 9. He must still follow a number of other requirements prior to adoption of the foreshore zone amending bylaw, including the acquisition of adjacent land to meet district parking requirements.

A public hearing will be held once Meakin delivers that plan to the municipality, but he said that’s a ways off.

“We’re focusing on the marketing side of it right now and just to make sure that all our numbers work.”

He said some of the business plan figures are slightly out of date after waiting three years to get tentative approval, so he’s had to update them in order to secure a tenant.

“It’s looking good, but anything good takes time,” he said, adding he’s hoping the operation will be in full swing within 12 to 18 months.

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