A large development proposed at McCallum Road and Highway 1 – including a 70,000-square-foot Cabela’s outdoor outfitters store as the anchor tenant – is moving forward.
Council gave third reading on Monday night for the 130,000-square-foot development, located north of the highway at a former trailer park.
The site required rezoning and an official community plan (OCP) amendment. The OCP had previously designated the site as 88 per cent city residential and 12 per cent commercial, while the development required 81 per cent commercial and 19 per cent residential.
The project drew mixed response at a public hearing, with supporters citing the potential for the development to bring jobs and economic activity, while opponents suggested the project doesn’t align with objectives identified in the city’s ongoing OCP update, Abbotsforward.
Mayor Henry Braun said Abbotsford is the hub of the Fraser Valley, and the community attracts regional businesses.
“In the case of this proposal, I think we have a significant regional retailer wanting to develop their business in our community. With only three Cabela’s stores planned for B.C., we will see shoppers coming from throughout the Fraser Valley.”
Braun addressed concerns raised at the public hearing about work being done on the site before approval, noting the property owner had the right to remove pipes on site as well as soil.
Some advertising and leasing activities were undertaken before the public hearing, raising the question that it was a “done deal,” but Braun said business people often take steps with a project before getting all of the approvals, at their own risk.
Cabela’s said in a news release in April that pending final approval from the city and provincial ministry of transportation, construction could begin later this year for a fall 2016 opening.
The release said Cabela’s would expect to employ about 160 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees. The store would be built in the American company’s new-format layout, which includes log construction, stonework, wood siding, a large mountain replica, and aquarium and wildlife displays. It would also include an indoor archery range and fudge shop.
Council unanimously approved third reading.