Information on Burns Bog development application by MK Delta Lands Group

MetroVanWatch is receiving information on the major development application by MK Delta Lands Group, which is sure to become a controversial process. We will post information here and update it periodically for people who are interested. Note that the open house is being held April 17 until 8 pm (details MKDLG 10770 media release final 120402). For more information from the community perspective, you are also encouraged to visit

Text of a letter to the editor of Delta Optimist, April 12, 2012
[We have not confirmed whether or not it ended up in print.]
MLA Vicki Huntington has done a great service to our community by exposing the disastrous plans for destroying local farmland for port infrastructure development ( “Being a “Gateway” has its price”, April 11 2012, Delta Optimist). This is no ordinary development since the port is a federal government entity and can legally use land in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) for non-farm uses. The power and money behind these schemes have been working for decades to undermine Delta’s agricultural land base, making it more and more difficult for farmers to operate a viable industry. Nor is this only an issue of agricultural survival. As most South Delta citizens are aware, land in our community is a vital link for millions of birds migrating on the Pacific Flyway. The Fraser River Estuary Important Bird Area, a biological designation encompassing the whole region, has the greatest number of species meeting global thresholds of any site in Canada. Farm fields, ditches and hedgerows are critical habitat for birds. Massive flocks of ducks, geese and swans feed and shelter on the fields in winter and stormy weather. Raptors, such as eagles, hawks, falcons and harriers, are dependent on prey found in the farmland. Delta has the highest diversity and number of wintering raptors in Canada. A break in the Pacific Flyway would affect birds from twenty countries, from Russia to Argentina. Farmers have cooperated for years in maintaining the existence of these habitats, which replaced the historic wet prairies of pre-dyking days. Open-field agriculture can coexist with migratory bird flocks. Development on the scale proposed will not support birds: the Flyway will collapse. There is nowhere for these birds to go, as we are surrounded by urban development, snow-capped mountains and B.C.’s predominantly rocky coastline. Everyone in Delta needs to tell Prime Minister Harper that this plan is not going to work. We cannot afford to lose one more acre of farmland in Delta.
Yours sincerely,
Anne Murray

Corporation of Delta staff report to council, 19-Mar-2012, on “New Application Received: Official Community Plan Amendment for 10770 72 Avenue (MK Delta Lands Group Inc.). This 13-page report outlines the application and proposed consultation process.

Delta Council Report, Burns Bog, MK Delta Lands, 19-Mar-2012

MK Delta Land Group  correspondence with Metro Vancouver (2-Feb-2010)
MK-DeltaLandGroup letter to Metro 2-Feb-2010

Conservation covenant.
Attachment A_Conservation Covenant

Comments on conservation Covenant

The Covenant on Burns Bog refers to Chapters 4 & 7 of the Burns Bog Ecosystem Review, Synthesis Report, 2000, as the Baseline Document from which to assess any change in the physical character of the Bog.

The Conservation Covenant includes a Baseline Documentation Report to which the Parties agreed.

The Report is defined in both the Conservation Covenant and the Management Agreement:
““Report” means those parts of the document known as the “Burns Bog Ecosystem Review” conducted by the Environment Assessment Office of British Columbia (Hebda, et al. 2000) consisting of Chapter 4, Biophysical Characteristics of Burns Bog, and Chapter 7, Key Findings and Conclusions…” (Management Agreement, page 4; Conservation Covenant, page 8 of 15)

“3.1 The parties acknowledge that the Report establishes a baseline from which any change in the physical character of the Bog, and performance of any covenant in this Agreement in relation to the Bog, may be measured or assessed.

3.2 The Parties acknowledge that the Bog and the location of the current Amenities are described in the Report, a copy of which is on file with each of the parties…”

This section of the Conservation Covenant is clear that the Report is the baseline to measure performance of the Covenant. The Report refers to Chapters 4 and 7 of the referenced Burns Bog Ecosystem Review Synthesis Report, March, 2000. There is ambiguity in the Covenant in that the Report includes the entire area of Burns Bog encompassing protected and unprotected areas. However, the Conservation Covenant defines “Bog” as the lands that were purchased for protection. The fact that the Report was included in the Conservation Covenant as a baseline acknowledges the importance of the entire area of Burns Bog and recognizes that activities can impact the protected area. Section 3.2 recognizes that the Report describes the “Amenities” of Burns Bog. The Report includes the entire bog area of 2,800 hectares (6,919 acres) as described on page 240.

Chapter 4 has many Figures that show the area which MK Delta Lands Group wishes to develop has important ecological values.

Figure 4.17 shows that the area is important to the water chemistry
Figure 4.18 shows that the area is important transitional bog vegetation
Figure 4.22 shows important raptor habitat which is found only on the periphery of Burns Bog
Figure 4.24 shows that the area is very important small mammal habitat which is rare
Figure 4.26 shows the area includes the highest rated-suitability in Burns Bog for three rare and endangered mammal species – Pacific Water Shrew, Southern Red-backed Vole and Trowbridge’s Shrew. This type of habitat is rare. The federal and provincial governments are responsible for protecting the Pacific Water Shrew under the Species at Risk Act and under federal-provincial agreements.
Figure 4.27 shows this is one of two areas that has sightings of native amphibian species
Figure 4.28 shows important rare habitat for amphibian diversity

In a letter to Metro Vancouver, Feb. 2, 2010, MK Delta Lands stated:

The statement that the area is non-essential does not mean it lacks habitat values. The Burns Bog Ecosystem Review Synthesis Report, March, 2000, recommended in Figure 6.10 that Zone 2 areas be included in the area for protection. The Report also called for protection of 2,450 ha (6,053 acres) in order to preserve the integrity and viability of Burns Bog (page 242). The protected area announced in 2004 is 5045 acres.

Page 242 of the Report states:

“The water mound zone must be connected to the area east of Highway 91 via a broad zone of Sphagnum regeneration and typical bog water. Water in the shallow ponds within this zone supports the water mound.”

Included in the area which MK Delta Lands wants to develop is an area which has been disturbed by a former peat-processing plant. However, the surrounding area has important wildlife values and regeneration of Sphagnum can restore habitat in the disturbed area.

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