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'Urban park' mulled for remote industrial site

A city-owned industrial site in Riverport could become Richmond's newest park—right next to a possible wharf for jet fuel tankers.

City hall issued a request for proposals last Friday seeking a civil engineering consultant to probe the land and revitalize its soils so the site could be repurposed—possibly, in part, as an "urban park," the proposal document suggests.

The 2.7-hectare (6.6-acre) site, at 14960 Triangle Rd., is located almost one kilometre northeast from the heart of the Riverport entertainment district. It's also located next to a wharf owned by the Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation, which is proposing to receive jet fuel from Panamax-class tankers before pumping it through an underground pipeline to the airport.

Panamax-class vessels are nearly five times the length of a hockey rink.

The land is zoned for industrial use and contains no buildings. In the past, it was used to store and blend sand and soils. A large soil stockpile, along with residual piles of river sand, remain.

The city is requesting the consultant complete the site remediation work by Nov. 30, 2013.

City spokesperson Ted Townsend said the city recently bought the site, and as part of the deal, the previous owner will pay for the work.

Townsend said the use of the land hasn't been decided. He noted "urban park" is cited in the proposal document in order to meet the demands of the highest level of soil remediation—leaving the city with a range of options for future use.

It could be a potential location for an off-road bike park, which council is still seeking a location for after surrendering such a park in Steveston earlier this year to accommodate a riverside development and park.

Just south of the city's Triangle Road parcel is another city-owned site that was subject of an ambitious proposal to build a 6,000-seat amphitheatre in 2001. As part of the proposal, a parking lot would have been converted into a pair of artificial turf fields for the fall and winter seasons.

City officials came close to finalizing a deal with a private partner to build it, but the proposal's numerous challenges—a possible rail line extension, required road improvements—eventually killed it.

That land, 20 acres (8.1 hectares) is currently leased out and being used for a vehicle storage facility.

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