The developer behind the rejected We Town concept says they intend to “reposition and reboot” the proposal to create a high-tech centre near Auguston.
But it’s unclear how the company intends to make the project happen. Last month, council declined to include its ambitious ideas as part of planning for the McKee Peak neighbourhood, and the developers declined a request to speak about their new ambitions.
The original We Town idea had been declared to be in the “wrong place,” by Mayor Henry Braun, and a slim majority of council eventually decided to leave the proposal out of the city’s long-term planning for the area. Staff had warned that the project might not be economically feasible, and the scale of a project that would have housed 30,000 people in futuristic highrises on Sumas Mountain would have required a substantial revision to the city’s plans.
In an emailed press release sent to The News last week, Ian Renton, the general manager of Auguston Town Developments, is quoted as saying: “We respect the challenging balance that council and staff have to strike in coming to a decision … As we relaunch our efforts, we will continue to work to support Abbotsford’s future, with a focus on the needs of the community.”
The email says the developers are calling their new vision the “Abbotsford Tech District.”
No proposal has been submitted yet to city hall.
“Building on community feedback, the project team is committed to listening, learning, and sharing an optimistic, exciting and comprehensive vision that aligns with future growth plans for the region.”
The email cites the province’s throne speech, and says the project could help address housing and transportation challenges across British Columbia.
“We think the Abbotsford Tech District can contribute significantly to the emerging government, business, and academic discussions about the Fraser Valley innovation corridor,” said Gavin Dew, the new project’s chief strategic advisor. “From Vancouver to Chilliwack, the need for good transportation, accessible housing and family-supporting jobs is adding fuel to that conversation. While our core focus on agritech and aerospace is geared toward Abbotsford’s natural strengths, the Abbotsford Tech District can be a catalyst for economic development for the Fraser Valley and BC as a whole.”
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