The second largest current industrial development in Abbotsford is nearing the final approval stage.
The 250,000-square-foot project has been proposed for 1585 Riverside Rd., just south of Highway 1 near King Road in east Abbotsford. The area is already home to several industrial businesses.
The bylaw amendment to rezone the property from the agricultural two zone to the general industrial zone was given first and second reading by council at its executive committee meeting on Monday (March 6).
It now proceeds to a public hearing at a later date.
A staff report to council indicates that the proposed development by Orion Construction will involve subdividing the property into five lots for the construction of six buildings to be used for light industrial and warehousing.
Marshall/Lonzo Creek flows along the property’s southern boundary, but the staff report states that an environmental assessment concluded that “no environmentally sensitive resources are anticipated to be affected by the development.”
The report says that, in accordance with the Streamside Protection Bylaw, the watercourse requires a 30-metre setback from the top of the bank.
Coun. Patricia Ross said she was initially “a little nervous” when she saw the staff report.
“This is a sensitive area, and Marshall Creek is actually a heritage-designated creek, which means it has a heightened level of protection,” she said.
But she said she was “happily surprised” to read that the “habitat compensation ratio” – mitigation that offsets unavoidable damage – was significantly higher at 3.8:1 than the desired ratio of 2:1.
The compensation for the Riverside Road development includes riparian restoration, relocating one ditch and modifying another, “instream cover elements” for salmonids, a riparian restoration planting treatment and more, according to the report.
As well, 627 new trees will be planted on site.
“The area is quite devastated because of past practices, so this is going to be developed, but it looks like it’s actually going to improve the environment for that area substantially,” Ross said.
Blake Collins, the city’s director of development planning, said the project is the second largest industrial development “in the queue” for staff to review. The largest is the Hungerford Properties’ Xchange Business Park on Mt. Lehman Road, which is 1.4 million square feet in total.
Collins said the Riverside Road project could be used in a variety of ways.
“We don’t have a lot of substantial sites like this left in Abbotsford so the way it has been designed it will be flexible for the transportation, logistics, distribution, warehousing kind of segments,” he said.
“But hopefully with the way that it’s arranged and the number of lots, we’ll have some flexibility to deliver product to market.”
Mayor Ross Siemens said Abbotsford needs a mix of development.
“It’s good to see industrial applications coming in, in conjunction with some of our residential applications because the folks that are going to be living in those homes can afford them by having a good job. We have to do both,” he said.
If the project is approved, work is expected to begin this summer.
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