The opening of a massive new shopping center and another Canadian holiday — it’s Thanksgiving weekend up north — has transportation officials in British Columbia worried.
Tsawwassen Mills opened Wednesday, Oct. 5, with 1.2 million square feet of retail space and 180 stores (Bellis Fair in Bellingham has 773,000 square feet of retail space). The retailers in the mall hired around 3,000 people to work full- and part-time shifts. For comparison, Whatcom County has about 12,000 people working in the retail industry, according to the state employment security department.
Its largest tenant? U.S.-based Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World.
But the perfect storm of all those shoppers and people on a holiday has BC Ferries warning travelers that roads to its Tsawwassen terminal — the route Americans take to get to Vancouver Island — will see heavy traffic this weekend.
The Ministry of Transportation is also warning drivers to expect delays on Highway 17. The retail center has no SkyTrain station and limited bus service, though the mall’s developer widened the highway to six lanes and improved traffic signals to prevent backups.