1750-unit apartment complex in Burns Bog will “be a catalyst for future development”

MKDelta-proposal-artMetroVanWatch has received this media release from the Burns Bog Conservation Society.


Thursday December 6th 2012, DELTA, B.C.

At their Open House yesterday evening, MK Delta Lands Group presented a proposal for a 1750 unit condo development adjacent to the Burns Bog Ecological Conservancy Area. The complex is proposed for the property at the southeast corner of Highway 91 and 72nd Avenue. Approximately 60% of the 90 acre property would be developed, with the rest set aside as green space. The company also suggested the potential for the transfer of ownership of the 200-acre property west of Highway 91 to the Corporation of Delta in exchange for the rezoning.

The company acknowledged the public’s concerns about severe traffic problems at the site, but could not confirm whether the Ministry of Transportation was prepared to build an interchange at Highway 91 and 72nd Avenue. MK Delta Lands Group project planner Mark Holland suggested the public should consider “what this land needs to be over the next 50 years,” and that the site could serve as “a catalyst for future development.”

Holland also suggested the existing land zoning of I-3 (peat extraction) might attract the attention of Port Metro Vancouver, which has been acquiring land to reserve for industrial use. Mr. Holland argued that if the land was not developed soon, it could be permanently turned to some other use, such as an animal kennel. The Port has met with significant opposition to its land acquisition practices in South Delta, where it is converting agricultural land into warehouses.

Paul Skydt, former chair of Metro Vancouver (then GVRD) spoke favourably of the proposal, though public sentiment was largely negative, with occasional outbursts during the presentation. One concern raised by attendees was the catastrophe facing Greenwood, Seattle, after suburbs there were built on peat bog. Further development eventually caused the bog to drain, leading to settlement of houses and roads, with the cost borne by taxpayers.

“If the land is drained, the bog will settle, and everything will sink. Even the highway could sink. How they expect to build five-storey apartment buildings without impacting the water table is beyond me,” said Eliza Olson, president of Burns Bog Conservation Society. “A ditch 1.5m deep affects bog a kilometre away. The South Fraser Perimeter Road is on two sides, and these developers want to eat away at a third. And if Burns Bog dies, Delta taxpayers will be the ones bailing them out.”

The lack of any transit connectivity was another major criticism leveled at the developer. While a potential new interchange was identified, no bus access was proposed. “The South Fraser Perimeter road is bringing more truck traffic our way, and this development will add further congestion to the Alex Fraser Bridge,” said Doug Massey, community activist. “The government has said any new crossings or SkyTrain extensions would not be realized for 10-20 years. Yet it is people we want to move, not just cars and trucks.”

Massey also wondered how the development could avoid impacting Burns Bog. “This development will change the hydrology of the bog, as the property must be elevated to comply with flood-proofing standards for lands below sea level. Perimeter drainage ditches will compound the effect.” Ms. Olson was equally unimpressed. “If you thought leaky condos were bad, try to live in a sinking one.”


Nicholas Ellan, communications@burnsbog.org


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