A proposal to build a large commercial development at McCallum Road and Highway 1 – which would include a Cabela’s outdoor outfitter store – moved forward at council on Monday.
Council gave first and second reading to the proposed 130,000-sq.ft. development, which would be anchored by the 70,000-sq.ft. Cabela’s store. It will now go to public hearing, likely on May 25.
The site requires rezoning and an amendment to the official community plan (OCP), which currently designates the site as 88 per cent city residential land and 12 per cent commercial, while the proposal requires 81 per cent commercial and 19 per cent residential.
The staff report notes that while the expansion of the commercial designation to accommodate the Cabela’s is supported, the additional space may adversely impact the development of “walkable, livable and complete communities within other areas of the city including the U-District.”
The city is in the process of developing a new OCP – a plan that guides decision-making on growth and development in the city – and a plan for the area around the University of the Fraser Valley, which is located on the other side of the highway from the proposed development.
The developer would be required to provide $50,000 for traffic-calming measures in the area, $30,000 for future pedestrian or transit upgrades and other cash contributions.
Coun. Sandy Blue said the proposal is “really exciting” and would include a mix of international and national retailers. She said if the project goes ahead as proposed, it is already fully leased and would bring jobs to the community.
But Coun. Dave Loewen noted the significant switch from residential zoning to commercial, and asked if less commercial space was possible.
Mark Neill, director of community planning, said that through the OCP update, staff are looking at the city’s demands for commercial and industrial space. He said there is some concern about the magnitude of the commercial amendment proposed, as staff doesn’t yet have a full understanding of the city’s needs.
Loewen said that while he supported the project going to public hearing, “I’m raising the red flag on this project.”
Mayor Henry Braun told The News that Cabela’s “is a retailer that I think we’d like to see in Abbotsford,” but said residents will have their say at the upcoming public hearing.