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Public input sought on long-awaited New West waterfront project

Mixed-use development with market and affordable housing proposed for former mill site on Fraser River
Poplar Landing Doman site
The City of New Westminster is working with Metro Vancouver to determine the future use of the Poplar Landing site, which will likely include parkland and residential uses. Current uses on the site include an award-winning sewage overflow facility and a dog park.

A former mill site on the banks of the Fraser River is a step closer to redevelopment.

The City of New Westminster and Metro Vancouver jointly own the Poplar Landing site at 1400 Quayside Dr. Now that the former industrial site has been remediated, they’re holding an open house to get public input on the proposed Muni Evers Park and other plans, including affordable housing and market housing, for the site.

“It is a pretty significant site,” said Mayor Jonathan Cote. “The site has now been fully remediated, and the city and Metro Vancouver are now looking to engage in this property’s long-term plans, which will include public park space at the end of our boardwalk. The city would also like to see an affordable housing project be a part of this site too. We are going to be spending some time, starting in June, engaging with the community about the next steps for this property, but I think it provides some huge opportunities for the City of New Westminster.”

The western portion of the site, where a combined sewer overflow facility is located, is currently zoned public and institutional district (low rise), while the eastern part of the site that’s next to Rialto Court is zoned multiple dwelling waterfront district (lowrise). The site would need to be rezoned as part of the redevelopment

At an open house on Tuesday, June 26 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at River Market, people are invited to offer feedback about what they want to see in the park, what other facilities they may want on the site (such as child care, small retail, café, work spaces), the type of building massing people prefer and potential trade-offs, such as building heights and the amount of park space.

“We have three main land uses that we would like to see on that site,” Cote said. “Number 1, we want to expand the riverfront boardwalk and finally move forward with the development of Muni Evers Park at the end there. There is a longstanding community desire to see that public space finally completed.”

Affordable housing is another key component of the site.

“At this point, we don’t know exactly who the operator might be, but given that the site is jointly owned by Metro Vancouver, I think the city would even be interested in partnering with the Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation who does some really good work in the region and in New Westminster,” Cote said. “We think it would be a really good site for that as well.”

A staff report states that building massing options for the site, which is included in the Fraser River floodplain, include “compact higher building forms” or lower, more expansive building forms, or a combination of both. Buildings on the site would be limited to 18 storeys.

“There’s actually going to be a couple of options we are going to come out to the community with,” Cote said. “One option will include one highrise under 20 storeys and then probably a four-storey building, with the thinking that the four-storey building would be the affordable housing building and the highrise building would be a market building that would actually provide funding to help fund the affordable housing project. But there are other options that might include more two mid-rises or two lowrises as well that we want to engage the community with, as to what the right fit is for that piece of land.”

As for the market housing, Cote said it would probably be a partnership with a developer, with the goal of leveraging funds to support the affordable housing project.

 “The details of exactly how that would work and who we would partner with on that is still to come and conversations we need to have,” he said.