The Tsawwassen First Nation is offering a glimpse into the projected impacts of its ambitious growth plans.
Last Monday, a traffic consultant for the TFN offered Delta council a clearer idea of what South Delta faces when shopping malls and a residential subdivision are developed. Council was also updated on other aspects of the TFN's development plans.
Peter Joyce of Bunt & Associates Engineering Ltd. outlined estimated traffic counts as well as improvements planned to the road network during a presentation to civic politicians.
In addition to industrial development, the TFN is expected to build approximately 3,500 single-and multi-family homes as well as two large shopping centres: the 1.2 million-squarefoot Tsawwassen Mills and the 575,000-square-foot Tsawwassen Commons. There's also an area north of Highway 17 designated as commercial that has 100,000 square feet of development potential.
Joyce explained several proposed changes to the road network within the First Nation, including the construction of new roads and a traffic signal at Highway 17. The current Tsawwassen Drive, meanwhile, would be closed to traffic north of Highway 17, but that stretch would remain a pedestrian and bicycle connection.
Highway 17 is to be widened from 56th Street, from the existing two lanes eastbound and one westbound, to three lanes in both directions. Meantime, 52nd Street would also be widened, from two to four lanes, from Highway 17 to 28th Avenue.
There's also going to be an interchange with the South Fraser Perimeter Road that will play a role when it comes to traffic flows.
According to the firm's draft transportation impact assessment report, which has been submitted to the Ministry of Transportation as well as Delta, the assumed distribution of vehicle trips associated with the residential, commercial and industrial projects forecasts between five to 10 per cent of traffic would be within the First Nation.
The largest component of traffic would be trips between Highway 17 and the South Fraser Perimeter Road at about 45 per cent of total trips. About 20 per cent would be on Highway 17 north of Deltaport Way, about 10 per cent would use Arthur Drive, about 10 per cent would use 56th Street and another five per cent would travel 52nd Street. Only about five per cent would come to and from the ferry terminal.
As far as traffic the shopping centres will generate, based on a Saturday afternoon peak, anticipated to be the busiest time, the SFPR would see 60 vehicles (twoway trips) per minute, while on Highway 17, north of Deltaport Way, there would be between 25 to 30 additional vehicles both ways, while all the other routes would see 10 to 15 extra vehicles per minute.
When asked for some raw overall numbers, Joyce said the Saturday peak period for the commercial and residential developments would see around 8,900 vehicles per hour.
Joyce noted they've already had some preliminary discussion with TransLink about public transit options.
"I think it's fair to say it's fairly early days in that discussion. They've reminded us that Delta has been a fairly challenging place to provide transit services because there are development pockets... I think that they recognize there is a fairly substantial ridership base that comes in with a community development of this size and, in fact, leads to fill in some of the space between the Ladner community and Tsawwassen community. It might actually help further rationalize improvements in the transit service."
Asked about how the new residential population would interface with Delta, and in particular the municipality's school, library and recreational facilities, TFN CAO Doug Raines responded the new village centre would eventually have its own school.
The First Nation is also looking into sport field development in the next couple of years. He noted that in addition to greenways and trails, a boardwalk system is also being explored.
As far as servicing the developments, Raines noted the TFN is part of Metro Vancouver Water District, but has now moved with the provincial government to change the Greater Vancouver Sewer District Act to make the TFN a member. He said once the First Nation is a member, the next steps are likely discussions with the regional district and Delta.
Delta politicians recently expressed concern their municipality would be forced to have its sewer pipes service the First Nation's developments.
The TFN, meanwhile, is also undertaking an agriculture plan for its land designated as farmland. The First Nation is also working with Port Metro Vancouver exploring opportunities for the TFN industrial land.
Staff told Delta council the nine current service agreements with the First Nation would be reviewed on a regular basis as the TFN community grows.
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