Sturgeons on the Fraser project coming back to council

Council has requested a report on the application for Jan. 9

Council is making good on their election campaign promise to bring forward the stalled Sturgeons on the Fraser project that would place a floating restaurant and marina at the foot of Horne Street.

More commonly referred to as “McBarge” for its use as a McDonalds restaurant during Expo 86, the development application was first presented to the previous council Sept. 7, 2010 by Howard Meakin, but was held up after passing first and second reading pending acquisition of adjacent land for parking, deemed essential by the planning department.

The proposal, estimated at $10 million, would renovate and anchor the McBarge on the riverfront to create a seafood restaurant, pub, cafe, and offices for fishing and eco-tour operators, as well as potentially linking float plane transportation to other waterfront communities.

“We fairly clearly stated during the election we would be bringing the Meakin proposal to public hearing,” said Mayor Ted Adlem Monday evening, as council directed staff to bring back a report on the application for Jan. 9. In all likelihood, that will put the McBarge project on the year’s first public hearing date set for Jan. 30.

But former Coun. Mike Scudder asked in question period whether there was any “new and substantial” information that would allow council reconsideration — a technical term under the procedure bylaws of the district — of a project that previous council had already concluded could not proceed.

Adlem said there was not any new information, but that as a newly elected council they are perfectly within their rights to revisit old business.

The question still remains, however, whether Meakin will receive approval of the project without the land for parking.

Adlem, planning committee chairman Coun. Dave Hensman and senior administration staff met with Meakin last week to establish the comfort level of both parties in moving forward.

Meakin is perhaps best known for purchasing dilapidated warehouses on Vancouver’s downtown waterfront in 1969 and converting the land into the trendy tourist attraction that is Gastown today.

Developing Mission’s waterfront has been discussed by various councils for decades, with the previous one launching a development feasibility study which is now in the fourth phase. The study envisions converting 150 acres along Mission’s floodplains over several decades into a $1.4 billion commercial and retail hub to attract tourists and investors.

A final report on that is due in late January.