Plan aims to revitalize south side neighbourhood of Terrace

Section of town could turn into a bustling commercial, high density residential zone with some light industry mixed in

The city of Terrace is looking at transforming a currently abandoned section of a southside neighbourhood of Terrace into a bustling commercial and high density residential zone with some light industry mixed in as a response to projections of a steep population growth that could see Terrace’s population swell by 5,000 over the next five to six years.

As part of the neighbourhood concept plan initiative, the city held two workshops last month and hosted a walking tour to allow community input into its big vision plan to revitalize the largely unused industrial land west of the Sande Overpass on the south side all the way to a point between Kenney St. and Frank St.

The concept plan, which is being developed over the next three to four months, looks at the possibility of changing the zoning of this strip from the current heavy industrial designation to a mix of high density residential, commercial and light industry.

On a walking tour earlier this summer members of the public and city staff toured what is being called the Keith Avenue Industrial Transition Area, made up of approximately 70 acres, most of which is contained in the 40-acre, rubble-filled site where Skeena Cellulose and Terrace Lumber Company used to be situated and is currently owned by NSD development corporation, and in the 20 acres of city owned land west of Kenney St.

The transition has already begun, with the owners of the Chrysler and Toyota dealership, Onstein Holdings, having purchased several acres at Kenney St. and Keith Ave. to expand their business. However, this will require a rezoning from industrial to commercial use.

“The pedestrian overpass was a big theme,” said city sustainability co-ordinator Tara Irwin of one of the open houses. On the walking tour she pointed out locations where future pedestrian overpasses could be located at one or more spots at Kalum St., Kenney Ave. or across from where the Rona is located.

University of Northern British Columbia chair Phil Burton spoke to the group  as they stopped outside the campus.

He discussed the university’s ongoing desire to expand, possibly with a new building across the street if there is a zoning change and environmental cleanup on that site. He said that revitalization of the area could attract new students to study in Terrace.

According to city staff NSD Development and other companies with interests in the concept area are not on side with the plan to switch the zoning because the area remains attractive to heavy industry.

Irwin said that some of the value added to the land if it was changed to residential and commercial usage could be put towards what would be an expensive environmental cleanup.

Money for creating the concept plan came through the Northwest Readiness Project funded by the provincial government.