The site of the former Candy Land project which never came to fruition is about to be repurposed as the city's public works yard

The site of the former Candy Land project which never came to fruition is about to be repurposed as the city's public works yard

Changes coming for old Candy Land site in Chilliwack

City moving ahead on plan for a new works yard to replace the aging facility on Kiernan Drive

Big changes are coming to the city-owned site on Luckakuck Way in Chilliwack.

The property will be the new Operation Centre, housing utilities, purchasing and public works for City of Chilliwack. That move will enable the over-capacity local RCMP detachment to expand into the old public works facility on Kiernan Drive.

It’s a plan that’s been in the works for several years, said Mayor Sharon Gaetz.

“We’re thankful the dominoes stood up for this one,” she said.

The concrete structure between Lickman and Evans Road on the Luckakuck site went up in 2005. It was phase one of the doomed Candy Land theme park project. The shell has sat unused for years, spurring many to ask what the ultimate use of the property would be, she said.

Now a plan to re-purpose it for the new public works yard is moving ahead, with permission obtained from the Agricultural Land Commission for city use of the agricultural property.

A request for expressions of interest (RFEI) to make the site changes and building additions was issued last week and closes Feb. 8.

That means they’re finally ready to make an estimated $5.2 million in site improvements and the money has already been budgeted for in the long-term capital plan.

The original vision by Candy Land Entertainment Corp. for a candy-based theme park was unveiled by Bill Coombes of Chilliwack with much fanfare at city hall in 2003, with MLAs and economic development officials nearby.

But the theme park never materialized when the plan failed to attract major investors. Phase two never went ahead after the concrete shell and other site improvements were completed.

Parties inked a deal in 2008 that saw the city retain ownership of the nine-acre site at 44390 Luckakuck Way. They negotiated the termination of the long-term lease with the Candy Land proponents, and paid for site improvements that had been made, including the concrete building for $3.1 million.

At the time, then mayor Clint Hames told The Progress it was a great deal for Chilliwack because the cost of a feasible works yard site elsewhere would been in excess of $5 million — for the land alone.

This allowed them to solve the problem of where to put public works and the RCMP expansion.

“To be able to redeem the situation turned it into a positive for Chilliwack,” said Gaetz.

City staff had actively been looking for a new yard location to replace the aging public works facility on Kiernan Drive, and this one fit the bill. In order to appease the ALC for the non-farm use allowance, a city-owned parcel of property at Island 22 was put into the Agricultural Land Reserve through an inclusion. It was accepted since it provided a net benefit for agriculture. They were then given permission by the ALC to use the Luckakuck Way site for a works yard, considered a non-farm use.

At the same time the local RCMP detachment was beyond capacity, and desperately needed a place into which they could expand. They had long ago outgrown the existing space in the Airport Road building and have been bursting at the seams ever since. As a consequence of the public works’ imminent move to the Luckakuck site, it allows the RCMP to move into, and take over the facility on Kiernan Drive.

There is no fixed timeline for the move into the new Luckakuck site, but most of the site prep work is expected to be completed by the end of 2013, with public works, utilities and more will be moving in during the summer of 2014. The RCMP will expand into the Kiernan Drive building in 2015 after the building is renovated.

In the meantime, city staff will be working to identify three qualified respondents in the RFEI, which can later submit proposals in the request for proposals (RFP) stage to complete the design-build project.

Work includes finishing the interior of the concrete shell for offices, outside site work, and constructing an addition with a bay for vehicle maintenance and tool storage.

Just Posted

A black sedan, white SUV, red pickup truck and black hatchback were all involved in a four-vehicle collision at Hodgins Avenue and Yale Road on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack’s top 10 worst intersections for crashes in 2020

Overall collisions down by huge numbers with fewer drivers in pandemic year

The theme for this year’s Fraser Valley Regional Library Summer Reading Club is “Crack the Case” and Katie Burns, community librarian at the Chilliwack Library, is encouraging people of all ages to sign up. She is seen here at the Chilliwack Library on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crack the case, read, win prizes with FVRL Summer Reading Club

‘Immerse yourself in other worlds and have a bit of fun while you do it,’ says Chilliwack librarian

Harrison Hot Springs country singer Todd Richard poses for a photo with Mission firefighters. (Photo/Sarah Plawutski)
VIDEO: Harrison country artist Todd Richard plans for a busy, rockin’ summer

Richard and his band look to live shows as restrictions start to lift

Vanessa Dueck.
Snapshots of a Chilliwack father from his loving daughter

Father’s Day memories of special moments shared together

Rachel is a six month old Labrador retriever cross who was found at large. She is seen here at the Chilliwack SPCA on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Rachel at the Chilliwack SPCA

6-month-old puppy found at large, now at Chilliwack SPCA, needs special home

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press Media files)
Burnaby RCMP look for witnesses in hit-and-run that left motorcyclist dead

Investigators believe that the suspect vehicle rear-ended the motorcycle before fleeing the scene

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A police pursuit involving Abbotsford Police ended in Langley Saturday night, June 20. (Black Press Media file)
Abbotsford Police pursuit ends in Langley with guns drawn

One person arrested, witnesses say an officer may have been hurt in collision with suspect vehicle

Most Read