Woah…blast from the past. Fantasy Gardens to get a whole new look. I do remember walking through the Gardens during it’s hey day back in the late 80s.
The area has changed significantly. The first signs of development in this southeast corner of Richmond was the Riverport development. The Silver City theatre, the ice rink, Watermania, and bowling alley had popped up in the middle of nowhere. The kitschy “MOVIES” sign still dominates the roof of the cinema. You almost half expect Godzilla and King Kong to be duking it out on top of the roof.
Eventually condos have been built in the area along the riverfront. I have never walked down there so I’m not even how things look by the river now. One of my friends from Toronto is being put up in one of those apartments while she flies back and forth for work.
On the other side of Hwy 99, we can see that everything has changed. The very large and expansive Ironwood Shopping Centre covers huge acres of land complete with all the usual suburban shops and supermarkets. I only ever frequent the Tim Horton’s there for breakfast on our way to the US border. I know folks in East Richmond like to use the newer public library. There are also lots of townhomes popping up across from Ironwood Centre. To the west of Ironwood is Coast Mountain’s Richmond garage.
In fact, it’s very busy in and around No. 5 Road and Steveston Highway nowadays. There’s a significant line up to get onto Highway 99 from Steveston Highway. Most of the traffic is held up at the light at No. 5 Road. I’ve never tried to take transit into the area, but with all this development, the Southeast Richmond area is going to need better transit service. When the Riverport area first developed, I know they only had a Community Shuttle running into the area. Now there is the 403 Richmond Centre/Riverport via No. 3 Road and Steveston Highway, which is a regular city bus, that runs into the area.
Given the current state of TransLink, it doesn’t look promising that much improvement in transit will happen in the area. If development on the Fantasy Gardens land goes full speed ahead, then we can expect a lot more car traffic in the southeast of Richmond.