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Thornhill site of massive project plan

A second proposal for major development in Thornhill has surfaced, this one detailing opportunities for a shopping mall or large box store complex amongst residential and community development.

According to crown land application purchase documents filed with the provincial ministry of forests, lands and natural resources, Bear Creek Contracting is proposing to purchase three portions of land totalling nearly 30 hectares in the lower area of Thornhill in order to build close to 400 single detached homes and multi-family homes, which could house more than 1,000 people.

A 10.7 hectare commercial development area and a 5.9 hectare expansion of the Bear Creek Contracting yard are also part of the application.

“The size of the proposed commercial area could accommodate three developments of similar size as the existing major commercial developments, depending on the size of undeveloped area used for landscaping or buffering,” reads the application. The existing major developments mentioned are Canadian Tire, Safeway Mall, Skeena Mall, and Walmart in the City of Terrace.

“Another alternative to development of this land is a comprehensive development, or in accordance with a development master plan as a mixed use area for commercial, offices, and residential uses,” reads the application.

A map included in the application shows Bear Creek’s vision for the crown land, which is north of Century St., to Crescent St., and between Paquette Avenue, and Sharples Road in Thornhill. One parcel to the east is designated commercial, with parcels further north and to the west of Sharples proposed as multi-residential.

Along Century St., two parcels of land – totalling nearly 20 hectares – are marked as community and institutional development and are not part of the crown land application. The application states that the community and institutional parcels "should be reserved by the regional district for the development of the future Thornhill community in accordance with the provisions of the Thornhill Official Settlement Plan (OSP)."

The regional district has stated in the past that it wants the crown to hold off on selling crown land until it can update its OSP and is currently in the process of preparing a terms of reference for the OSP review, confirmed regional district planner Ted Pellegrino.

The application details potential road work which would need to be completed, as well plans to work with the crown, regional district, and developers to update the community sewer system.

A letter included in the application package details support from the Kitselas First Nation for the proposal.

Another local contracting company, M&M Ventures, filed a crown land purchase application for the same area earlier this year. Its application calls for 124 lots on 40 hectares, and would be phased in at approximately 30 lots a year leading toward 2020.

If the ministry decides to sell the crown land, a competitive process would begin and requirements on how the land is to be developed would need to be formalized.

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