Master plan for chunk of Queensborough

The Queensborough Special Study Area bounded by Duncan, Stanley and Furness streets and Ewen Avenue. - City of New Westminster report
The Queensborough Special Study Area bounded by Duncan, Stanley and Furness streets and Ewen Avenue.
— image credit: City of New Westminster report

A master plan for a chunk of Queensborough next to Port Royal is in the works.

The plan began when Platform Properties developer Kyle Shury noticed the New Westminster school district put a triangular piece of land at Stanley and Duncan streets up for sale. He bid on it and got it. Then he went to city hall and they've agreed to sell Platform 19 properties it owns nearby. That will give Platform just under 10 acres in total. The city then created a special study area of 21 acres to develop a master plan for the land, with the company taking the lead.

"Between the two of those (Platform's property and the city properties) we saw an opportunity to create a significant [community]," said Shury.

The area is bounded by Ewen Avenue, Stanley Street, Duncan Street and Furness Street. Most of the land is currently zoned light industrial. Platform wants to turn it into a planned residential, commercial and retail mix.

Shury had previously been part of putting together the Queensborough Landing shopping complex.

So he knew the community's potential and liked a lot of the changes that have taken place, especially Port Royal. "They're starting to see the benefits of all their hard work," said Shury.

The city-owned properties include the animal shelter, the city's impound vehicle lot, and a dog park. Owners of the private properties in the area not owned by Platform are to be part of the planning process.

"It's an area that's very central to the Lower Mainland and may have been historically undiscovered until the last number of years," said Platform planning consultant Cameron Chalmers. "It's an underserved neighbourhood."

Shury wouldn't say if Platform will pursue purchase any of the area's other property because he didn't want to upset any of the owners, or damage future possible negotiations.

"I won't disclose too much on that front," said Shury.

The current Queensborough Community Plan calls for a "Commercial Main Street" along Ewen. Frankie G's Pub and the commercial part of Port Royal currently are in the study area. A purely commercial venture like as a grocery store would be allowed. Chalmers noted it would put shopping within walking distance for residents instead journeying to the other side of Highway 91A.

The community plan says a minimum of two thirds of the land should be used to generate employment. Its design guidelines also require creation of a public plaza where Ewen, Duncan and Furness meet. Chalmers said the land west of Mercer Street will be predominantly residential.

From the city's perspective, a master plan process that explores land use and design guidelines in detail made more sense than a typical community plan.

"This approach was seen to be appropriate given the complexities in the area, including the proximity of rail lines and the adjacency of both residential and industrial development," said a report to city council.

Platform has already put together a project team of design, traffic, environment and engineering experts. It has created a preliminary design concept, but it's general in nature.

Their first open house for the special study area was scheduled for the Queensborough Community Centre on Tuesday, 5 to 8 p.m.

Chalmers said ideally work would start by summer 2015. But there's still several hoops to go through with presentations to city committees, another open house, a revision of the city's Official Community Plan and a public hearing.

"We know that [changing] the whole area won't occur at once, but what's important is that we plan the whole area," said Shury. "We will proceed with our parcels and the balance will develop at their own priority."

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