A concept of how the Mission Waterfront should take shape is beginning to emerge. While actual construction is still years away, a large amount of pre-planning has already been completed.
According to a staff report, the revitalization project is at an important juncture in its timeline where the “transition from technical studies, pre-planning and business modeling is now entering into a more focused implementation phase where area planning, ongoing stakeholder engagement and community engagement will be required.”
Project consulting lead Carla Guerrera, of Purpose Driven Development, spoke to council on Monday night about the initiative
She told council the OCP indicates waterfront priorities include establishing a pedestrian-orientated precinct along the waterfront, with walkways, view points, commercial uses, public art and other urban elements.
“We’ve been working on creating this opportunity to advance these priorities that the community has currently stated and using it as a springboard for the work,” said Guerrera.
They also want to focus on providing public access to the Fraser River, pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, a variety of housing types for all income levels, new space for culture as well as open park space.
Council wants the waterfront to also offer opportunities for employment, economic benefit, health and environment as well as arts and culture and social opportunities for the community.
Guerrera also spoke on the many challenges of the project, stating a co-ordinated approach is needed to solve them.
The land involved is almost 300 acres, all in a flood area and more infrastructure is needed to protect it.
“Municipal servicing and infrastructure is required to achieve this vision” she said, also noting there has been some former industrial uses on the waterfront resulting in some contamination in the soil.
“That needs to be remediated.”
The project also includes 88 different land owners on the waterfront that need to be consulted with.
Mission Mayor Pam Alexis is encouraged with the planning progress so far, saying “No council has ever come this far” on the waterfront project.
“We have come significantly farther and really are setting the course for the next 20 to 30 years in the community,” said Alexis.
She said council is taking a measured approach to significant revitalization.
While it’s a long term project, Alexis is hopeful that by the end of her term there will be mechanisms in place so that the public can see some action in the next council term.
A number of developers and major companies are interested in being part of the project, said Alexis, adding they have also met with the landowners who have expressed a desire for the municipality to take the lead
“They know it’s significant and they can’t do it by themselves.”
Ultimately, the project may eventually require the need to relocate some businesses already in the area.
“We are not in it to push business away, we are in it to ensure we have the right mix of business and industry and everything to satisfy the needs of the community.”
Alexis believes some people may not realize the scale of the project, which involves three miles of waterfront property and 296 acres.
“It’s the size of seven Granville Islands, it’s massive.”
To learn more about the waterfront project, see the website at missionwaterfront.ca.