The transformation of the once-beloved Minter Gardens in Popkum to a unique residential community is one step closer to reality as Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) electoral area directors looked at the plan this week.
The 15-hectare (37-acre) show garden site, which closed in 2013, is proposed to be subdivided to allow for approximately 82 single family homes with lot sizes from 800 square metres to 3,275 square metres.
Also planned by the Chilliwack developers Roy and Harvey Haan is approximately 31 single family strata lots in a gated community for those aged 55 and up. The Haans run Woodspan Developments and Haan Brothers Consruction, and purchased the property from the Minter family last year.
A portion of the existing display gardens is to remain intact as a private amenity space for the 55-plus community as part of the proposal.
“The redevelopment of the former Minter Gardens site for single family residential infill is a unique opportunity to comprehensively plan for this high profile property and to integrate with the existing Popkum community,” FVRD director of planning and development Margaret Thornton said in a staff report considered by the electoral area services committee (EASC) at its Jan. 11 meeting. “The developer has consulted with the neighbourhood and the intended development is for a high quality and landscaped neighbourhood, honouring the historical use of the property for the Minter Gardens.”
It was at that EASC meeting, chaired by Area D director Bill Dickey, where they forwarded the report to the full board to give first reading to the OCP amendment bylaw and rezoning bylaw.
That could come at the February or March full FVRD board meeting, but in the meantime, a public information meeting is scheduled for Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. at Rosedale Traditional Community School.
In looking at the proposed project, the FVRD board is also obliged to consider whether consultation is required with First Nations, senior government agencies or other organizations.
To that end, staff recommended the proposal be forwarded to the Sto:lo Nation prior to the public hearing, and to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
The developer did hold a public information meeting in November, at which the Haan brothers said the development would incorporate some of the much-loved rose gardens and formal gardens.
“The neighbourhood was really positive about it,” Ron Haan said in November about the meeting.
Also included in the plan is development of two hectares (five acres) on the property for a new FVRD sewer treatment and disposal facility to also serve neighbouring developments.