The city’s plan for the historic downtown envisions Essendene shrunk to two travel lanes, with a centre left-turn lane. City of Abbotsford image

New plans for Abbotsford’s commercial areas approved and applauded

Plans will guide future development in city centre area along South Fraser Way and historic downtown

Two new plans that aim to guide development in Abbotsford’s most-prominent commercial areas for decades to come got a long-awaited thumb’s up from council and the public Monday.

After a public hearing with mostly positive comments from the public, council voted unanimously to give third reading to neighbourhood plans for the historic downtown and the “city centre” area along South Fraser Way.

The two plans won’t alter things overnight, and most changes will take place only as local property owners choose to redevelop. But they aim to lay out a long-term vision for Abbotsford’s commercial centres and how they will change for decades to come – if future councils see fit.

For the city centre area, that vision is one of taller buildings, more-walkable streets and the conversion of large surface parking lots and malls into street-facing shopping destinations.



The historic downtown plan, on the other hand, aims to increase the number of people living in the area while preserving its historic character. Building heights in a four-block “core” will be limited to three storeys.

More than a dozen people spoke about the plans at a public hearing preceding council’s vote, with the vast majority in favour.

Jenn McEwan, the executive director of the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association, said the organization was “extremely happy” with the consultation process and applauded plans to reduce the number of travel lanes on Essendene Avenue to just two, with a centre left-turn lane.

“The ADBA particularly supports the redesign of Essendene Avenue … where it will achieve the objective of traffic calming and increase the quality of the pedestrian experience along this strip,” she said.

The plan was also supported by the Atangard Community Project, which operates a shared living space in the Fraser Valley Inn that is home to 23 residents. Mitch Huttema, the president of the group, asked the city to keep residents in mind as more work is done.

Darin Graham, who operates Boardwalk Café and Games on Montrose, urged the city not to wait for developers to improve two downtown intersections identified in the plan.

The city centre plan, meanwhile, is a promising development for local seniors, said Gerd Bartel, the president of Menno Place.

Menno Place is working with a local developer who has submitted a plan to create a “seniors’ village” just west of the Gur Sikh Temple.

Bartel said a more-walkable city centre is “something we really want to take advantage of and provide many hundreds of seniors the ability to live downtown and, in a very close-knit environment, access shops, green space, and be able to be mobile in a downtown core.”

Planners told council Monday that at the last consultation event, 85 per cent of comment sheets submitted indicated support for the historic downtown plan. The city centre plan saw similar levels of support, according to staff reports.

DETAILS: Historic downtown plan aims to protect the past while planning for the future

DETAILS: City centre plan envisions taller buildings and more people


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


The draft of Abbotsford’s new city centre plan envisions a South Fraser Way with taller buildings and more residents. City of Abbotsford image.

Just Posted

Body found after SUV found fully engulfed in flames in Abbotsford field

Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has been called in

PHOTOS: West Coast Christmas Show and Artisan Market at Tradex

Over the past 11 years the show has been attended by over 175,000 visitors

Annual Realtors Care Blanket Drive supports 5 Abbotsford organizations

25th anniversary event runs from Nov. 18 to 25

British comedy duo James and Jamesy present O Christmas Tea

Production comes to Abbotsford Arts Centre on Wednesday, Nov. 20

WoMen Rise holds two events, including tree planting

Community welcome to events on Sunday, Nov. 17 in Abbotsford

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Paul Bissonnette joins Vancouver Warriors after tweeting he could walk on to an NLL club

Bissonnette will join the Warriors for their final week of training camp at Rogers Arena

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

Most Read