City asks for $7.5M to help with River Road upgrade

The City of Richmond is asking the federal and provincial governments for up to $7.5 million to pay for a realigned River Road, from Gilbert (Dinsmore Bridge) to Cambie roads.

Director of Transportation Victor Wei says, in a recent report to city council, the new $11.3 million road (River Parkway) is part of a larger project that will see the establishment of a new waterfront park adjacent to it, once the industrial properties are purchased by the city and demolished, starting as early as 2024, when existing leases begin to expire.

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Since new residential buildings are expected to be built between the park and No. 3 Road, the project would otherwise be funded by new development charges. 

However, additional provincial and federal taxpayer’s money would mean the city could lower such charges.

With some funding limitations, the Government of B.C.’s infrastructure programs are said to be a potential source of funding, as is the Government of Canada’s New Building Canada Fund, which provides money to projects that Wei argues River Parkway qualifies for.

For instance, grant money can be issued to projects that redevelop old industrial land, provide for recreation, promote tourism and add to public transit infrastructure.

The road would be a vital bus link between Aberdeen Centre Canada Line station and condos in the Oval Village area. The road will eventually be expanded to Capstan Way, as well.

The project may eventually see a pedestrian and cycling bridge connect BCIT on Sea Island to the foot of Cambie, at the train station.

A similar arrangement was made between the federal government and the City of Richmond to widen No. 2 Road, south of Steveston Highway.

No. 2 Road gets $3.5M pipe

Canada provided Richmond with $3.5 million to put toward the $7.3 million project.

However, more recently, upon assessing the new road layout, city engineers determined the large drainage pipe along No. 2 Road requires replacement, at a cost of $3.7 million.

The money will come from the city’s public works reserves and was approved by council on Monday.

Coun. Harold Steves said this is a reality for Richmond, which once was lined with ditches.

“I had a chuckle about this. We had a great debate [50 years ago] about whether we would cover the ditches,” said Steves.

“We weren’t sure if [the box culverts] were going to work or not because of the clay soils. So, I’m glad to see we’re maintaining them,” said Steves.

No. 2 Road will be widened, from the highway to London Road, to allow for street parking and a shared cycling and pedestrian path.

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