The Cochrane Corridor

Construction has begun in the town of Cochrane on a corridor that will link the downtown with the Quarry, the future site of retail shopping, community gathering sites and residential development.

“Bringing this project to fruition required the contribution of many,” said Cochrane mayor Truper McBride at an opening event for the corridor. “(We’re celebrating) the first of a number of key milestones that will be met to ensure the success of this project. We also celebrate how community success is created when residents, governments and developers work together.”

The project will see the town’s Centre Avenue extended as a four-lane arterial road linking the two major east-west artery roads and linking the downtown with the Quarry site.

Between 1964 and 1988, the site was home to Domtar, a wood treatment facility who, according to the Cochrane Eagle newspaper, used a tar/ creosote mixture consisting of semivolatile polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and pentachlorophenol, to treat to railway ties leading to the contamination of the soil.

In 2010 Springwood Land Corporation — the owners of the site brought in Biogenie — a site assessment and remediation business unit to remediate the area. The Town of Cochrane began the process of compiling a planning and design framework for the site in March 2011. The Centre Avenue connector will provide Cochranites access to the Quarry, which has future hopes as a collection of big box stores, smaller shops, residences, easy pedestrian access and thepotential for plazas and sidewalk cafés.

In May, CREB® Real Estate News spoke to Kathy Dietrich, Cochrane’s senior manager, planning and engineering about what the development of the Quarry means for the town.

“Most municipalities our size have a need for large-format retail but usually end up developing those options at the edge of town where they draw energy away from the downtown,” she said. “Cochrane is unique in that we have this amazing opportunity with an (18 hectare) site right in the centre of our community to bring shoppers into our general downtown area.”

As of the 2010 Federal Census, the population of Cochrane was 17,580 a more than 7,000 resident increase since 1999.

“The Centre Avenue project is a fine example of how our transportation system supports Albertans and their communities,” said Ric McIver, Minister of Transportation. “This connector will link two major highways, allow for direct access to downtown and be part of the Highway 1A upgrade, making travel easier and safer for residents and visitors alike.”

Construction of the roadway was made possible thanks to funding from the Canada-Alberta Building Canada Fund – Communities Component program of which Cochrane applied for a grant in 2009. Of the $9,673,828 project, $6 million is covered by the grant with the remaining funds provided through a combination of grants and reserve funds.

“I am proud of our Government’s investment in the transportation infrastructure that Cochrane needs to grow and succeed,” said Blake Richards, Member of Parliament for Wild Rose. “In addition to creating short-term construction employment, this initiative will help improve transportation efficiency for all residents, while paving the way for economic growth in the region.”

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