Canada Education Park

cep_logo_colourIn 1998, the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Chilliwack closed its 400-acre site in Chilliwack. The CFB Chilliwack was selected for closure as part of the reduction of the Canadian Forces and its role was minimized to an Area Support Unit to support Regular and Reserve units in mainland BC. The Area Support Unit was also closed in 2013. During its lifetime, the CFB was the area’s second highest employer and also provided vital support to local communities in times of crisis or difficulties.

The void left by the former CFB was further emphasized when all of Chilliwack’s food processing plants, which employed hundreds of people, left at the same time. Compounding the urgency to draw up a blueprint for the city’s economic future was the fact that the University (College) of the Fraser Valley was rapidly expanding to capacity on its 27-acre Chilliwack campus.

In 2003, the City of Chilliwack, the Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation (CEPCO), Canada Lands Company, and additional partners signed a memorandum of understanding to officially launch the Canada Education Park project. Over the last 13 years, the Park has unfolded on 200 acres of the former Canadian Forces Base, adjacent to the Vedder River (400 acres total of institutional, commercial and residential development, including Garrison Crossing).

The Canada Education Park is a multi-agency educational partnership that brings together some of the nation’s most respected education, training and research facilities including the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Pacific Region Training Centre (RCMP PRTC), the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the City of Chilliwack, Canada Lands Company and the Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation.

CEPCO continues to be the lead agency involved in the development of Canada Education Park.

The Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation received the Stan Rogers Memorial Award at the 2016 BC Economic Development Awards Banquet. This award recognizes the leading role CEPCO has had in the ongoing development of Canada Education Park.

Goal and Purpose

The purpose of this dynamic and innovative partnership-based project is to provide a sustainable economic base for the community of Chilliwack in the critically important and growing knowledge-based sector.

Objectives
  • Create a Complete Community: innovative, compact and efficient community of uses with emphasis on development of a strong university campus identity;
  • Minimize Impacts of Redevelopment: provide appropriate built forms and maximize environmental sensitivity; and
  • Retain and Celebrate the Military Legacy.
Canada Education Park
  • Revitalizes the regional economy by generating millions of dollars in economic activity in both its construction and operational phases;
  • Creates jobs;
  • Enhances Canada’s role as a leader in global education partnerships; and
  • Enhances the quality of life in the community by ensuring that the environmental integrity of the former CFB lands is respected.

Economic Impact

The development of the Canada Education Park has resulted in state-of-the-art training facilities for all of the partners involved, including the University of the Fraser Valley campus, the RCMP Pacific Region Training Centre, Canada Border Services Agency and the Justice Institute of British Columbia.

Currently, the City receives approximately $3,411,000 in municipal taxes/payments in lieu of taxes for the area of Canada Education Park and Garrison Crossing. In 2003, the city received $807,000 in payments in lieu of taxes. (Please note that both of these figures include the municipality portion only, and do not include other government taxes such as school tax, hospital, etc.)

ufv-logoThe University of the Fraser Valley relocated its entire campus from Yale Road to the Canada Education Park, which enabled them to significantly expand the campus in Chilliwack. The provided the basis for UFV to expand its degree and transfer programs, as well as applied technology diploma programs.

The University received $29M from the provincial government: $7.5M for the purchase of 85 acres within the Canada Education Park and $21.6M for the retrofitted state-of-the-art Trades and Technology Centre, which opened in September 2007.

In April of 2009, the federal and provincial governments invested an additional $7.2M for infrastructure improvements, followed by $10M from the province in 2010, preparing the way for the campus relocation to the Canada Education Park in 2012.

Most recently, UFV’s $5M Agriculture Centre of Excellence, which includes a 250-square-metre demonstration barn, a 400-square-metre glass greenhouse, and two traditional poly-houses, was constructed with funding assistance from the Provincial GovernmentWestern Economic Diversification (Federal), and local partners such as the Chilliwack Economic Partners CorporationEnvision Credit UnionPreview Builders and other local supporters.

The new Canada Education Park campus of the University of the Fraser Valley rose above the international competition to be named “Best in Class: University Building” by the World Architecture News (WAN) Education Awards in 2013.

rcmpThe RCMP PRTC occupies 60 acres at Canada Education Park and carries one of the most significant student bases. One of the buildings occupied by the RCMP underwent significant improvements in the $700,000 to $800,000 range. The PRTC offers advanced training to existing RCMP members from Manitoba to Vancouver Island. The RCMP PRTC recently completed construction of its state-of-the-art indoor firing range at a cost of $13M (federal dollars). The firing range project was managed by CEPCO.
jibcThe Justice Institute of British Columbia has had a campus at the Canada Education Park site since 2003. JIBC purchased 6.1 acres and completed significant renovations to CFB building 1079.

JIBC is a provincial institute with a specific mandate to provide learning opportunities in justice, public safety and related human services. JIBC plans to expand its programming in Chilliwack to include police training, aboriginal leadership and career preparation, emergency management, advanced care paramedics and conflict resolution. JIBC also provides training to a number of international organizations on a contract basis.

cbsaCBSA currently provides duty firearms training, control and defense techniques, transport and control training, passenger motor vehicle training, and phase three of basic recruit training for new border services officers. CBSA recently moved into a newly renovated building that allows all of their training under the same roof. Renovations were managed by CEPCO and completed at a cost of over $3M.

dndThe DND has a long and positive association with the Canada Education Park property. The DND is actively involved in the community and has ongoing interests in Canada Education Park.
garrison-crossingThe new commercial and residential development, Garrison Crossing, has resulted in a new sustainable and viable neighbourhood. The residential units rage from single family dwellings to brownstones to condominiums with commercial developments at grade.

Infrastructure

The development at Canada Education Park has provided institutional facilities that expand and enhance the skills in the local labour force, created new opportunities for attracting students and families to our community, created new jobs, and contributed to the overall economic growth in Chilliwack.

The infrastructure improvements completed at Canada Education Park and Garrison Crossing have contributed to make the area a complete neighbourhood:

  • Street widening
  • Tyson Road extension
  • Crosswalks
  • Curb intrusions
  • On-street parking/parking pockets
  • Street trees
  • Street lights
  • Street paving/bicycle paths
  • Street furniture/benches/bicycle racks/trash receptacles
  • Legacy Trail
  • Commercial use concentrations
  • Live/work uses, and commercial first floor with residential use above
  • Designated parking

Innovative and Creative

What used to be characterized as a farming community with a strong military presence has evolved into one of the top education hubs in Canada, making the opportunities for students, entrepreneurs and residents more diverse than ever.

The Canada Education Park project has proven to be an innovative way to bring economic development and sustainability to Chilliwack.

The Park has created community benefits and recreation resources through well-planned development. The Trans-Canada Trail along the Vedder River, the linkage with the Garrison Crossing Legacy Trail, the east-west pedestrian spine, and the Cheam Leisure Centre in Garrison Crossing offer excellent opportunities to create a comprehensive pathway and recreation network through the Vedder Crossing area.

The Canada Education Park was developed on an environmentally sustainable basis, by reusing and refurbishing existing improvements when it was possible to do so; encouraging pedestrian and bicycle access with the Park and the use of public transportation and bicycles to and from the Park; promoting energy efficiency, recycling, energy efficient construction and development standards (LEED); and other programs and initiatives which reduce the environmental impact of their respective activities within the Park.

Guiding Principles

  • Retain existing uses, landscapes and buildings, where appropriate;
  • Build a compact and efficient community of uses where residents and students can live, work, shop, play and learn close by;
  • Respect the adjoining neighbourhoods in sensitive redevelopment that contributes green space and amenities while providing appropriate built form;
  • Encourage a variety of transportation networks with reduced emphasis on the automobile (greenways, walkways, bike routes, and transit) to the adjoining areas;
  • Promote a variety of uses, flexibility of phasing and growth that can respond to market demand and a variety of land owners;
  • Commemorate the site’s history and encourage the adaptive reuse of existing buildings and heritage landscapes and community assets;
  • Enhance the connection to the spectacular setting in terms of views, and links to the Vedder River recreational corridor;
  • Encourage the development of linked public places along with gathering and interaction between the various users;
  • Implement the design standards necessary to ensure the protection of the Vedder Aquifer;
  • Use innovative building and site planning methods to conserve energy and reduce waste;
  • Promote continued environmental responsibility and lifestyles including tree stewardship, transit use, waste reduction, and energy conservation; and
  • Ensure that public and private investment in public infrastructure is well planned to gain maximum value especially for public safety and amenity in the area.

The model of Canada Education Park is a significant investment for the future of Chilliwack. Canada Education Park is a huge economic generator for the community, not only in terms of job creation but also future generations of business, given the training programs that are in effect at the Park. This is a centre of excellence in innovation and education.

Canada Education Park is a strong example of the benefits of positive public/private partnerships between the federal, provincial, and municipal governments, federal and provincial institutions, and the university. Given the need for trades training and innovation, Canada Education Park has become a strong centre of resource development in our community.

Historic Integrity

The Vedder River Rotary Trail was a joint venture with the Rotary Club of Chilliwack, the Canadian Forces Base of Chilliwack and the City of Chilliwack. This beautiful trail runs along the Vedder River and is 15 km long. Great for running, biking, walking and horseback riding, many outdoor enthusiasts find this trail wonderful not only for the scenery but for the great accessibility to the Vedder River.

Numerous pedestrian trails link down to the Trans-Canada Trail along the Vedder River. The Legacy Trail links north to Garrison Crossing and complements a major east-west central boulevard. Significant trees, landscape features, and heritage buildings have been retained as part of redevelopment. On the east side of the campus, conveniently located cafes and supportive local commercial uses are tucked under upper storey residential uses along the south part of Vedder Road, and more commercial uses are concentrated at the corner of Vedder Road and Keith Wilson Road.

Canada Education Park has preserved the historic integrity of the former Canada Forces Base Chilliwack. The military heritage of the lands comprising the Park is honoured by preserving existing street names, elements of the existing buildings, landmarks, legacy markers and monuments, and landscape features.

  • All Sappers Memorial Park is located at the intersection of Vedder and Keith Wilson roads in Chilliwack. CFB Chilliwack was home to many sappers, otherwise known as engineers. The cenotaph commemorates those who served in the Great War (1914-1918), as well as World War II, and the Korean War.
  • As part of the construction of the Canada Education Park, Caen Avenue was extended to skirt the north end of the parade square, which now serves as a parking lot for the University of the Fraser Valley. Through the efforts of local volunteers and the support of veterans and military personnel from around the world, the stand has been brought back to its former glory and put into historical context.
  • The saluting base, located off Caen Avenue, once served as a platform for prominent military officials to observe marching troops in the Parade Square. The University of the Fraser Valley preserved the saluting base, which has been revamped with fresh paint, new landscaping, commemorative plaques and metal fixtures shaped in the word ‘ubique’, which means ‘everywhere’ in Latin.
  • Starting through Garrison Crossing and The Canada Education Park and ending at the Vedder River Rotary Trail, the Legacy Trail commemorates the men and women who lived and worked at the former Canadian Forces Base Chilliwack from its inception in 1942 to its closure in 1998. Visitors and residents can walk the pathways and learn about the base’s history and the vital role it has played in Canada’s military.