Delta Council should oppose or delay Monday’s vote on Metro Van Regional Growth Strategy until serious flaws are fixed: CityHallWatch
(Vancouver, February 7, 2011) The public learned only on Friday that Delta Municipal Council is set to consider acceptance of the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) on Monday, February 7 at 7 pm. Questions from the public are only allowed before the meeting, at 6:45 pm. Metro Vancouver is proposing the RGS to replace the Livable Region Strategic Plan (LRSP). Each of the 22 municipalities is being asked to accept the RGS by mid-March, but many groups and individuals are raising the alarm bells about the policy.
“The Delta Council should reject or delay the vote on this thirty-year Regional Growth Strategy. More time is needed to fix its problems, which include threats to agricultural land, green space, and public involvement in critical land use decisions,” says Randy Helten, Coordinator of CityHallWatch. “We urge the public to write immediately to Delta Council with concerns and also to go and scrutinize the meeting.”
Peter Duffey, Delta resident for 30 years, activist and a former Concorde pilot, says, “The RGS Bylaw will eliminate the Green Zone, which was defined after many years of public discussion. In its place will ‘Urban Containment Boundaries’ are proposed, but these will allow each municipality to erode the boundaries with relative ease, in some cases without even a public hearing at Metro.” He also says, “Replacing the Livable Regional Strategic Plan with the RGS would also be significant for TransLink and its future plans, and would not serve the best interests of residents south of the Fraser.”
On Monday, Delta Council will also consider asking the Agricultural Land Commission to return the Southlands to the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). Without ALR protection, the RGS would expose this fertile farmland in Tsawwassen to the risk of conversion to industrial development, with only a Metro Board vote of 50%+1 and no public hearing. But there is no guarantee that an application to return Southlands to the ALR will succeed, as legal challenges and influences on the ALC may block the attempt. For now, the Southlands are much more secure in the Green Zone under the LRSP, so Delta should not accept the RGS without demanding changes.
This threat to agriculture is just one example of how the RGS weakens the protection of farmland, rural areas, parks, conservation and recreational lands. Despite proponents’ claims, the RGS will not protect the region from sprawl. It will promote sprawl. Delta Council should therefore oppose or delay the vote on the RGS until many issues are resolved. (The staff report on this item may be viewed here:
CityHallWatch.ca is new website launched for citizens in Vancouver to better understand, discuss, and address major land use decisions and policies. Its goal is to light a candle and shine some light on city processes, so that citizens can have a greater say in the future of their own neighbourhoods. We receive input from independent citizens and experts.