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Delta throwback: It seems 'Ladner definitely has an image'

UBC study recommend retaining Ladner Village’s small-village atmosphere
A view of 48th Avenue from the top of of the post office building in 1964.

There had been many ideas over the years when it comes to the subject of revitalizing Ladner Village and its harbour.

In 1980, a team of 25 UBC architecture students came up with a series of recommendations in a plan that would capture the essence of Ladner as a fishing and farming community and build around that theme.

Their study was sponsored by the Ladner Business Association (LBA).

The study stressed the importance of retaining and building on Ladner’s history.

“If you ignore the history then there’s not much of a future,” said one of the students. “Reinforce the history as a theme for redevelopment.”

One of their first observations was that “Ladner definitely has an image. It has history, character, and compactness and is a homey, friendly place.”

Professor Raymond Burton addressed the LBA, saying the area has “unique environmental qualities” like fishing, farming and retailing opportunities that “could attract people from all over the Greater Vancouver area.”

The study also recommended enhancing the waterfront, one of Ladner’s greatest assets, with a fisherman’s market, restaurants and moorage for pleasure boats.

Delta council that year had already agreed to have municipal staff prepare a development plan for downtown Ladner and the Ladner Development Committee explored several themes.

There would be other studies and ideas floated over the subsequent years including recommendations from the Downtown Ladner Waterfront Redevelopment Advisory Committee in 2009.

That committee was formed with a mandate of devising a strategy to make Ladner Harbour and Chisholm Street attractive destinations.

It met numerous times to come up with a strategy, also meeting with property owners to see what can be done “to achieve a vibrant, people-oriented environment, with strong linkages to the waterfront reflecting and celebrating the historical roots of the community.”

Municipal officials throughout the process insisted they didn’t want to see a vision that would only end up being another document collecting dust on a shelf.

Fast forward to 2021 and city council finally approved Official Community Plan amendments for the village as well as the Ladner Waterfront Redevelopment Strategy.

Both initiatives are the result of recommendations from the Ladner Village Renewal Advisory Committee.

The committee came up with 35 recommendations, 15 of which had been identified as high-priority actions to encourage a varied range of housing, activating the waterfront for commercial development and public access, as well as supporting business sustainability through increased vibrancy.

One of the biggest issues the committee identified is a need to increase density and building heights in certain areas of the village to allow for more residential units.

The first major test of the new OCP in 2023 will be the redevelopment application of the Dunbar Lumber site.