After several years of planning work and consultations, council officially adopted a new plan last week that hopes to bring more vitality and thousands of new residents to the area surrounding the University of the Fraser Valley.
The plan for the UDistrict aims to guide land use in the areas immediately north and west of UFV.
The plan designates area between King Road and Highway 1 that is now used for small-scale industry for the long-term development of residential and mixed-use apartment buildings. It also lays out a vision for a lively “Cascades Plaza” strip immediately north of Abbotsford Centre that would boast restaurants, entertainment and retail shops, and which could be closed to cars during major events. The plaza would also lead directly to the Salton Road pedestrian and cycling overpass that is currently under construction.
Development of newly designated lands won’t be forced, but would occur as property owners decide to sell or redevelop their land. By 2040, the plan envisions 6,000 more residents in the area.
The document was crafted in collaboration with University of the Fraser Valley staff, and alongside a separate UFV planning process for its own lands.
The idea is to provide a gradual transition between the university lands and the surrounding area, with residences, offices and other amenities on UFV lands now occupied by parking lots. Accomplishing that vision will likely require provincial funds, which are needed to pay for most capital projects at B.C. universities.
The UDistrict plan is the first of four upcoming neighbourhood plans to be completed by the city. Other plans are in the works for the city centre, the historic downtown, and the McKee Peak area – although the McKee Peak plan has lagged behind the other two.