Agri-Centre debated at public hearing

Proposal would create a 33-acre project near Sumas Mountain in east Abbotsford

A proposal for an Agri-mall was discussed at a public hearing on Monday.

A proposal for an Agri-mall was discussed at a public hearing on Monday.

A proposal to consolidate agricultural equipment dealers in a 33-acre parcel at Atkinson and Eldridge roads near Sumas Mountain in east Abbotsford elicited both concerns and support at city hall on Monday.

At a public hearing, neighbouring residents spoke about the potential impact on traffic, the project’s location outside the city’s urban development boundary, lack of city services to the area, and the need to respect sites significant to the Sto:lo First Nation.

The site is zoned residential and not in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

While city staff have recommended against the project, proponent Corpus Management Group (CMG) has said it has been endorsed by the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, the Fraser-Valley Indo-Canadian Business Association and the University of the Fraser Valley, as well as agri-businesses.

Brad Vis, who spoke on behalf of CMG, said the project is a “one-of-a-kind development.” He said there will be no significant impact on traffic, the site will be sufficiently serviced, and the initiative wouldn’t proceed without the consent of the Se:math (Sumas) First Nation.

He said it will be important to the agricultural community, and support local businesses and farmers. A video shown at the public hearing contained messages of support from local farmers.

After the public hearing, council deferred their decision to an upcoming meeting.