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Change in plans for project on Ladner Trunk Road vacant lot

Multi-tenant retail building will now become an early childhood school

A development planned for a Ladner Trunk Road lot that's long been vacant has been substantially changed.

Over two years ago, Delta council approved construction of a multi-tenant retail building at 5737 Ladner Trunk Rd. Located next to the 7-Eleven, Ladner Gate was planned as a heritage-themed commercial building of over 7,300square-feet in size.

However, council was recently informed those plans have changed. In addition to some design alterations, the new building is to have just one tenant, a Core Education and Fine Arts (CEFA) school.

According to the company's website, CEFA schools are Canada's first "Junior Kindergarten" school, established in 1998. The first CEFA early childhood education school opened in West Vancouver and now has 10 franchise schools across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley.

The schools are an allday early learning program designed for infants and children up to five years.

"The enriched curriculum features a unique partnership of core subjects, such as reading and math, with fine arts, such as drama and yoga, providing children with the freedom to learn and grow through play," the website states.

Although the rezoning has already been approved, council must approve the new design.

A formal application for an amendment still has to be submitted.

At a recent workshop, councillors were told the traffic generated by the school is anticipated to be less than a multi-tenant commercial site.

Meanwhile, just a few metres away, at the corner of Ladnet Trunk Road and 57th Street, council late last year gave the green light for a foreign student dormitory. Golden Landmark International Education Inc. plans to convert a former seniors' care home at 5681 Ladner Trunk Rd. into a group home for foreign students enrolled in the Delta school district's international program.

Heritage House Intermediate Care closed in early 2009.

Further down Ladner Trunk Road, meantime, a proposal to build a multifamily residential complex moved a step closer to reality after receiving endorsement from Delta's advisory design panel. The application is for a three-storey, 30-unit apartment building at 5571 Ladner Trunk Rd, currently the site of a pair of restaurants.

Further down the street, demolition was recently completed of the former KFC building at the corner of Arthur Drive.

The Corporation of Delta bought the property from Shato Holdings last summer and took possession earlier this year.

The building was torn down to make room for a new right-turn lane for Arthur Drive. There are also plans to expand Magee Park and improve the pedestrian walkway.

In other redevelopment news, the well known Tidewaters Pub in 10100block of River Road won't be replaced.

Council had originally granted redevelopment approval for the pub and a new commercial building after it was gutted by an arson fire to two years ago. At a recent council meeting, Mayor Lois Jackson expressed dismay after learning the plans have changed and the pub will no longer be replaced.

Instead, the new building is to house a drive-through liqour store and space for other commercial uses.