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Proposal seeks to expand Bradner rest area on Highway 1 in Abbotsford

Council approves forwarding the plan to Agricultural Land Commission
If approved, a proposal from the Ministry of Transportation would see an expansion of the Bradner rest area on Highway 1 in Abbotsford.

Abbotsford council has voted in favour of forwarding to the Agricultural Land Commission an application to expand the Bradner rest area on Highway 1.

The matter came before council on Monday (July 24).

The land in question is located in the Agricultural Land Reserve. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is applying to obtain a non-farm-use designation for the land and required council approval for the application to be forwarded to the Agricultural Land Commission.

The proposal, as part of the Highway 1 corridor improvement program, seeks to expand the rest area to accommodate more vehicles and larger truck parking, a multi-use pathway and wetland improvements.

A staff report to council recommended supporting the non-farm-use application.

“The proposed expansion is not anticipated to impact any lands with existing or historical farm use and the subject property shall remain in the ALR,” the report states.

The current parking area is about 1.77 hectares (4.4 acres), and the proposal will expand it to 2.5 hectares (6.2 acres).

Other components of the plan include: improving the general parking area, adding a new dual-bay sani-station and bypass lane to replace the current one, and adding a bioswale (a channel) to capture surface runoff.

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Security measures include perimeter fencing, improved landscaping and a new anti-loitering “noise deterrent” system for washrooms.

The staff reports says that the northeast portion of the property is identified as environmentally sensitive due to the presence of Nathan Creek.

The application is currently under review by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Ministry of Forests.

The proposal includes “details specific to managing work in and about a stream and the restoration of these areas,” the council report says.

“A construction environmental management plan will be developed to guide all construction and restoration in and around streams, including soil salvage and reuse, and weed management,” it states.

The constructed wetland is expected to encompass 1.39 hectares (3.4 acres).

At Monday’s council meeting, Coun. Mark Warkentin questioned whether the proposal addressed the ongoing issues with overnight camping at the rest stop.

The land is among Ministry of Transportation properties in Abbotsford that have had issues with non-housed people.

Blake Collins, the city’s director of development planning, said the ministry is aware of those challenges “although it’s not specifically an outcome of this application.”

“There will be a need to address some of that in order to undertake the works on the site,” he said.

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Vikki Hopes

About the Author: Vikki Hopes

I have been a journalist for almost 40 years, and have been at the Abbotsford News since 1991.
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