Wren Creek proposal gets environmental green light

After more than two years waiting, environmental approval was granted, says developer

A proposed $80-million commercial and residential development at Wren Street and Lougheed Highway received environmental approval Tuesday, according to developer Karel Carhoun.

“After considering the proposed project mitigation, including avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures; proponent commitments; follow-up monitoring; and adaptive management, the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects,” reads the document.

The decision, which Carhoun has been awaiting since September 2009, is an about-face from DFO, which the developer said had previously indicated in early January that it would not approve the venture.

“I’m just happy to receive this authorization so we can move forward with the project,” said Carhoun, adding DFO still has to approve section 35 of the Fisheries Act, which prohibits harmful alteration, disruption or destruction (HADD) of fish habitat.

But he said at this point he doesn’t see any reason DFO won’t grant full approval to a HADD based on the mitigation plan the federal agency already agreed to last July.

“It’s been two-and-a-half years and it’s been a very frustrating and costly process,” said Carhoun.

A development application will now be submitted to the district, and he hopes that first reading will appear before council within a few weeks. Carhoun is hoping to have the project go to public hearing within five weeks, though that would depend on council approval.

Carhoun’s project could generate as many as 1,000 jobs and provide $2.5 million in additional property taxes to the district based on estimates made by Mission’s economic development officer, Stacey Crawford.