Triland Announces Founder’s Square

Trent Ernst, Editor
Triland International has announced their next project for Tumbler Ridge: Founder’s Square.
The mixed-use development will happen on Site 13, a large, wedge-shaped parcel of land located at the end of Founder’s Street behind Tags and the Trend Mountain Hotel and running parallel to Mackenzie Way, running nearly all the way to Mesa Place.  
Triland’s Graham Johnson says they are planning on setting up the development to emphasize the natural beauty of the area “There’s mountains on two sides, and you’re looking out over the valley, it’s such a gorgeous area.”
When finished, the development will include 256 one bedroom apartments, 30 two bedroom apartments, 40 live/work units, and a 220 room hotel. “Inspired by Tumbler Ridge’s master planning and spirit of community,” says a newly-created brochure for the space, “Triland saw in Founder’s Square the potential to integrate business, residential and retail facilities into a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art urban community.
The new development will feature ground floor office space, which Triland is hoping to fill with new retail, restaurant and entertainment options in an area they’re calling “the Shops at Founder’s Square. 
In addition to the retail and residential space, the area will feature a park space, complete with water features. Johnson describes the development as new urbanism. “It’ll be mixed use commercial and apartment. It creates a sense of place. We’re hoping the commercial space will have a variety of uses. With any luck, there’ll be a restaurant and entertainment venue. But it’s not just for the people that will live there. It’s going to be a benefit to everyone in Tumbler. We’re trying to get away from vehicles as much as possible and make it a space that people can walk around.”
As part of that, the development will be built around a central green space which will have a pond where people can skate in the winter and relax beside in the summer. “We’re trying to create a vibrant atmosphere: a space for concerts, a space for a farmer’s market. Not just a place where people park their cars and go up into their apartment.” 
When the project is fully built, it will add an extra 100,000 square feet of much-needed commercial space. Phase one will see 20,000 of that. 
The project is still in the approval phase. Triland is planning on submitting the proposal to District Council for final approval in the next six weeks, with construction starting shortly after. “We hope to get all the approvals and necessary documents as soon as possible because of the short building season,” says Johnson. “We have a certain window that we can work with.”
He says that the company wants to avoid “battling with winter,” as they’ve been doing on their current Monkman Commons development, which should be wrapping up in the next month or so. “We’re planning on constructing the first phase in 2013.”
The apartments will range from small one bedroom apartments of about 550 square feet to larger two and three bedroom spaces well over a thousand. “It’s like any community. You need bachelor pads for the folks just leaving home, and you need places for the families with three children.”
Johnson says the development still has space in it for future expansion. Something the company has investigated is senior’s housing. “We’re trying to build with a good conscience, trying to provide the supply side of the housing needs of Tumbler Ridge. We want to provide nice, clean, fresh and efficient housing with lots of amenities. The District has been very supportive.  They want quality residencies. They don’t want a camp.”
He says that, while the plan is to complete the full project over the next few years, there are always things that could slow things down. “The economy is an issue. It’d be wonderful if we could solve the issues around HD Mining. Other industries have gone silent over the last year. Our biggest stumbling block is what other people are doing. If industry has a bad year, it all slows down.”
While the company hasn’t announced pricing, Johnson says costs will be comparable to other markets in the area. “If you look at what a similar apartment is in Fort St. John or Dawson Creek, it will probably be comparable. We want people to feel that Tumbler Ridge is a place that people can come with their families. We want to be involved in building more amenities that make people want to stay.”