New Westminster residents provide input into future uses for Braid SkyTrain property
Sapperton residents are all for revitalizing the vacant and unused land next to Braid SkyTrain Station, so long as the final project fits in with the rest of the neighbourhood.
On Tuesday, residents attended an open house to help shape the vision of the 38-acre site that currently has a vacant lot and warehouse/distribution facility on it.
Property owner Bentall Kennedy has the zoning in place and hopes to get approval to construct two office buildings on the site which will take up eight acres on the southwest portion of the property. There's no master plan yet for the remaining portion.
Neil Powell, past president of the McBride Sapperton Residents Association, said Tuesday's open house was "successful" and "well attended."
"I think a mixed use of commercial, residential, green space is going to be a fantastic boon to Sapperton," he said.
He said he would like to see green space connections between Hume Park, the Sapperton residential area and the SkyTrain site so people don't have to walk down busy Braid Street.
"Having more commercial opportunities for Sapperton residents will also be a plus and will make that station more of a meeting place."
Powell was concerned by suggestions that the site be used for a park and ride. That idea was first tabled when the Millennium Line came to town.
"The community fought hard against (a park and ride) at the time because we didn't want to have a Scott Road situation where people drive from all over the Lower Mainland to park in New Westminster. We already have a big enough issue with people parking in the community. We have a big enough problem with people shortcutting through our community."
Meanwhile, New West resident David Phelan hopes the final development plans complement the existing area.
"They need to make sure that whatever they do, that it fits in with the neighbourhood and also fits in with this talk about the United Boulevard Extension as well," he said.
At Tuesday's event, he heard from some residents who want to keep any residential development low scale.
"There was a bit of a concern if they put great big high rises in there how that would impact the neighbourood."
The open house was part of an extensive public review process required to amend the city's Official Community Plan and rezone the land.
Currently, the site is designated as business park in the city's Brunette Creek Neighbourhood plan, which allows for business park and related uses.
Urban planning and land development consultancy firm Brook Pooni Associates Inc. organized the public open house.
"People were very engaged. They were quite pleased that a developer wanted to speak to the community before they had worked on any plans," said president Gary Pooni.
"People saw that there is a great opportunity working on a 38-acre master plan at a transit station at a gateway to the city."
He said residents want to ensure the development plans are sensitive to the neighbourhood and take the UBE into consideration.
Consultants are now compiling feedback and ideas and will invite the community to discuss potential land uses in more detail at a workshop May 7.