Sparwood’s downtown is to receive a multi-million dollar facelift, including a major renovation of the mall, a new development including a hotel, restaurant and retail area, plus a walkway connecting the new development to the downtown.
Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett made the announcement on Tuesday.
The minister hinted that this $15 million investment is just the start, and there may be more to come.
The first stage of the development plan includes investments from, Joy Global, Schickedanz West, Teck, BC Hydro and Noort Investments.
Jude Smith, Business Development Liaison at the District of Sparwood, said he hoped this investment would act as a springboard to attract a wider mix of quality retail and restaurants to Sparwood.
“Hopefully people will want to spent their time and money in Sparwood,” he said.
“This investment will bring in employment opportunities and help the economy. It’s a big step forward and hopefully will be the catalyst for more.”
The first thing that will happen will be the renovation of Greenwood Mall. Noort Investments, owners of the mall, has committed $500,000 to the redesign and development of the mall including new frontages, parking area development and internal improvements.
The biggest investment will be from Joy Global, who are investing $35 million in a flagship corporate facility.
Joy Global is a worldwide leader in high-productivity mining solutions and is a key supplier to Teck.
Speaking of the investment, Steve Droste, Regional Manager, Western Operations at Joy Global said, “This new facility is the next step in our commitment to our customers, to our employees and to the future of mining in the Elk Valley. The facility will provide our employees with the best environment, tools and equipment which will enable us to provide the highest level of service to our customers. We are excited to be part of this major investment initiative in Sparwood and look forward to the growth and prosperity it will bring to the region.”
A pedestrian underpass will connect Joy Global’s facility with the downtown core on the other side of the highway.
Regional developer Schickedanz West is investing $14m in the construction of a hotel, retail and restaurant development, which will occupy a prime highway position. They are currently seeking a compatible restaurant to complete the site.
As part of its Beautification Program for municipalities, BC Hydro will contribute approximately $290,000 towards the cost to relocate the existing overhead power line infrastructure to underground in the vicinity of the planned development in Sparwood.
Teck has also acquired eight acres of land off Highway 3 for future development.
Minister Bennett said: “It is an honour for me to participate in today’s celebration of Sparwood and Sparwood’s future. I know Mayor and Council have worked hard on this development and it is very exciting to see it all come together for them and the whole community. I am proud to represent such a forward looking community with such strong leadership. And as well, I welcome the new voters who will come with this significant investment.”
Mayor of Sparwood, Lois Halko, said it wasn’t planned that all the investments would come together at the same time, but it was something that had been worked on by District staff for a long time.
“There has been a lot of hard work put in leading up to this,” she said. “It’s the most significant economic development and investment since Sparwood became Sparwood. I think all of our staff and Sparwood’s resident swill be very pleased with this.
“It has been recognized for a while that the mall, which was built in the early 1970s, is in need of an upgrade. It’ll be a huge perk to get this done.”
She said the District will also be contributing by developing a T intersection with a traffic control light at the junction of Highway 43 and Highway 3.