The most notable sign of change has already begun in Ladner Village.
Demolition started this week on the Delta-owned Seven Seas building on Chisholm Street, with the aim of eventually triggering a larger transformation in the harbour area and the rest of the village.
Council late last year approved sweeping amendments to the Ladner Village Official Community Plan and have given the green light for the Ladner Waterfront Redevelopment Strategy, initiatives that came from recommendations of the Ladner Village Renewal Advisory Committee two years ago.
The waterfront strategy was viewed as a key element of village revitalization, but how long will it take for substantial redevelopment to occur remains to be seen.
The plan involves a reconfiguration and redesign of Chisholm Street, as well as a site redevelopment strategy for the Seven Seas site.
Mayor George Harvie said Delta has been discussing the renewal of Ladner’s waterfront for over 30 years, but a plan is only as good as the ability to achieve it. "The first step in this process is the replacement of the aging Seven Seas Building. The new public plaza on this site will be a community gathering place worthy of hosting events and celebrations. I am looking forward to removing the chain link fence, cleaning up the broken glass, and opening this space up to the public this summer."
Coun. Dylan Kruger, a member the committee, said that the city is finally moving forward with a plan after decades of inaction, and the demolition of the dilapidated former Seven Seas site is a key milestone towards achieving greater public access to the waterfront.
“When we started the new revitalization process four years ago, we were determined to ensure that this latest plan would not just sit on a shelf like previous attempts. Delta has owned the Seven Seas site for well over a decade. Yet, prior to this term, no progress had been made towards renewal of this key property,” said Kruger.
“By moving forward with a new public plaza space on this site, council has made it clear that we are committed to real action to support our local businesses and bring needed vibrancy back to Chisholm Street.”
Through the committee process and subsequent community engagement, there has been strong interest in the revitalization of Ladner Village and land use plan updates that would help facilitate redevelopment, according to the planning department.
Investment in the waterfront was identified as a priority to connect Ladner Village to Ladner Harbour, increasing the accessibility of the waterfront and increasing the vibrancy of the area.
The Seven Seas site is to serve primarily as public open space, but the planning department also notes there is the potential to consider some modest park-serving commercial and/or low-rise residential in the southern portion of the property.
A conceptual design for the waterfront and Chisholm Street will continue to be refined as the city moves towards implementation.