Newest mega mall Tsawwassen Mills opens

Shoppers line up to get into new 180-shop retail complex on Tsawwassen First Nation land

Shoppers lined up overnight to be among the first to set foot in B.C.’s newest mega-mall.

Tsawwassen Mills at 1.2 million square feet of retail space is the fourth largest in Metro Vancouver.

The $600-million complex is located on Tsawwassen First Nation land on Highway 17 on the way to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal.

It opened at 10 a.m. Wednesday with 180 stores, including numerous fashion outlets, including Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth, and 16 anchor retailers, the largest of which is outdoor retailer Bass Pro Shops.

The aboriginal-themed mall built by Ivanhoe Cambridge also boasts an 1,100-seat food court.

Its location is expected to be a draw to passengers taking ferries to and from Vancouver Island, as well as potentially U.S. residents arriving via Highway 99.

There were heavy delays on routes through Delta on opening day and travellers taking BC Ferries were warned to allow extra time to make their sailings.

Despite the throngs of shoppers coming for deals, mall outlets have struggled to attract enough staff.

Tsawwassen Mills is running its own private employee shuttle to carry workers to and from the Scott Road SkyTrain station, to make transportation for them easier.

Public transit to and from the mall is limited, adding to the car traffic flowing to the new retail magnet.

But the mall is offering a free shuttle to and from the ferry terminal, in a bid to attract walk-on ferry passengers.

Traffic could be even more intense on the Thanksgiving long weekend, traditionally the busiest time on ferries, with foot passenger overloads often occurring on Thanksgiving Mondays.

BC Ferries is adding 56 additional sailings for the long weekend on the Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen run.

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