01/12/2012 10:48 EST | Updated 03/13/2012 05:12 EDT

Mega-Mall Plans Unveiled By Tsawwassen First Nation


Plans by the Tsawwassen First Nation to build a mega-mall near the BC Ferries terminal got a positive reception from dozens of local residents who turned out at an open house on Wednesday night.

The plans include one indoor mall with 17 retailers covering 1.2 million square feet and three other major retailers on another 600,000 square feet.

There are also plans for office space, an entertainment complex and hotel and millions of dollars worth of highway infrastructure upgrades.

The band has partnered with Ivanhoe Cambridge to build the new mall, which will be roughly equal in size to the Metrotown Mall in Burnaby.

Chris Hartman of the TFN's Economic Development Office says band hopes to build a destination for locals and visitors to the region.

"We expect the Island to be one of our prime markets, and also part of the Interior. So people will come down to Vancouver, come down to Tsawwassen, stay for a number of days, shop, recreate, golf, waterpark, all those kinds of things that provide for a complete shopping experience."

Most of those who turned out for the open house liked what they saw, including Tsawwassen resident Kay Dennison.

"I think we need the change. We have to have growth in this community. We haven't had it in some time," she said.

Band members will vote on the plan on Jan. 18, and if approved construction could begin in the spring with the aim of opening the mall within three years.

The mall is being built on land that was included in the bands 2007 treaty agreement, but it is not the only development in the works for the the Tsawwassen First Nation.

The band also has plans to build 1,600 new homes in the area as well and to develop 350 acres as an industrial park.