SmartCentre development gets nod from municipality

Construction for a new shopping centre in Mission is expected to begin soon.Council unanimously paved the way Monday for SmartCentres to build a 100,000-plus square foot strip mall on Lougheed Highway, just east of Wren Street.The developers will be purchasing four pieces of property, totalling nine acres, for the project, said Sandra Kaiser, SmartCentres’ vice-president of corporate affairs.“Now that our rezoning bylaw has been adopted, we will step up our leasing activities and expect to begin construction in the next few months.” Tenants for the new shopping area have not been confirmed. The project will provide jobs and expand Mission’s tax base, said Mayor James Atebe, who hopes this will be a catalyst for other commercial activities along the Lougheed corridor and help keep shopping dollars in Mission.The proposal was introduced to council last summer and developers have been working to address concerns and meet requirements from the district and provincial government, such as traffic and environmental design issues. The plans call for a 94,500 square foot anchor store and four smaller buildings ranging from 3,000 to 10,000 sq. ft.Neighbours and the business community supported the project early on, but others feared a big box store, like Wal-Mart, would negatively impact the community.Wal-Mart is just one of the large stores with which SmartCentres works. Others include, but are not limited to Winners, Old Navy, Michaels, Costco, Best Buy/Future Shop, and Home Depot.Once built, the development will generate $800,000 in tax dollars for the district.