The landscaping may look a little barren right now around the Molson Coors Fraser Valley Brewery site in Chilliwack, but there are more beautification efforts coming this spring.
Complaints about the look of the sprawling 36-acre property were starting to come in so The Progress reached out earlier this week to Molson Coors management for comment.
Brewery management responded quickly sharing detailed plans to see landscaping, maintenance and other beautification efforts realized in the coming months.
“We are committed to being a business and employer that everyone in Chilliwack can be proud of,” said David Hamel, general manager of operations at the Molson Coors brewery.
Cultivating partnerships and relationships with the communities they operate in is part of the corporate culture, he said, and Chilliwack will be no exception.
“We have collaborated with the City (of Chilliwack) in beautifying our land, and are investing $2 million in landscaping work to be finished in the spring that will not only make our space more visually appealing, but also provide a better sustainable future for our local community,” Hamel said.
One of the recent letters received about the site’s appearance came from John Les, a former mayor of Chilliwack and former MLA/cabinet minister. Les wrote that he’d been expecting to see a major major landscaping effort undertaken, “given its location at one of the main gateways to our community.”
“Instead, all that’s been done is the planting of perimeter trees and a few other minor features that are totally dwarfed by the scale of the building.”
But “especially unattractive,” Les said was what looks like an “abandoned moat or swamp, festooned with plastic,” at the corner of Yale and Kerr Avenue.
The moat-looking feature is actually a “water-retention pond” to preserve storm water, which is still under construction.
Seeding of the pond perimeter is coming as part of the landscaping plan on the way to LEED certification to prevent erosion in this case.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is like the gold standard in green building design.
“We are working to obtain LEED Certification for our building and our landscaping,” Hamel explained.
LEED is an internationally recognized certification system, focused on efficient and cost-saving design that favours water and energy savings in particular.
City of Chilliwack staff confirmed that the original “form and character approval” for the massive brewery site included a landscaping plan – that had not been fully implemented by early 2021.
In fact, city staff had been in discussions with local Molson representatives recently, securing the commitment to complete the cleanup of the site this spring.
Attention will be on yard maintenance, including grass mowing, and tree trimming along the edge of the property, and they’ll be planting 10 more trees around the pond, which gets added to the 250 already planted last year, the brewery official continued. Before the rainy season started, they actually started the cleanup, planted trees and applied top soil and grass along the three edges of the property, that being along Vedder Road (from Kerr to Elder), Kerr Avenue and Highway 1.
“We also collaborated well with our colleagues at the City of Chilliwack to clear up areas near our property that belong to the city,” Hamel added.
Landscaping work is ideally undertaken on in the spring and fall windows, given that the dry summer season and the heavy winter rains make it impossible for any grass or trees to survive if planted then.
“For this reason, we took the strategic decision to wait for the opportune moment before finalizing our landscaping,” the brewery official added.
The landscaping plan will include:
• applying top soil and grass on the entire north and west sections of the site;
• hydro seeding west and north in order to convert to a non-erodible surface; and
• Installing/seeding water-retention pond perimeter to preserve storm water.
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