Delta’s Southlands – today’s decision and analysis of next steps in process at Metro Vancouver

Delta Council 2013, credit Corp of DeltaWe are pleased to share this description of the next stages of the process on the Soundlands development application in Tsawwassen in Delta. It is excerpted from a message by Peter Duffey, long timer watcher of Metro Vancouver and hope it will help readers understand the process and what comes next.

This Council Meeting [November 8, 2013, by City Council, Corporation of Delta] voted to approve the third reading of the bylaws, as was expected. The only opposing vote was by Councillor Sylvia Bishop, who made a very good presentation. [See Council video online here (time needs to be verified).]

The other Councillors had prepared long, grandstanding statements in support of the Century Group application, but failed, as did the staff, to properly engage in discussion about the dangers and inadequate protection that the development would provide. One person actually quoted Richmond as an example of where construction takes place on a floodplain. However, he did not mention that Richmond’s municipal law requires that such development be always protected by a dike.

Delta’s elected officials have now passed the application to Metro, asking for a change in the Regional Growth Strategy urban containment boundary (green zone). This involves the following process, which everyone will need to follow closely and carefully.

  1. Metro Vancouver’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Carole Mason, will receive the formal request, and begin a legal process.
  2. The CAO and Board Chair (Greg Moore) will refer the application to various committees and the Metro Vancouver Boards of Directors to obtain their recommendations. (At each of these bodies it will be possible for the public to appear as a delegation when the item is considered on the agenda, and also to provide written input.) At each of these Board meetings a Delta Council member will be present, and at each committee meeting a Delta staff member.
  3. Then the CAO will prepare a Report and Recommendation.
  4. At a Main Metro Board meeting if the CAO and enough Board members agree, the application will be considered in bylaw form to amend the boundary. At this stage Metro could refuse the application.
  5. If the Metro Board passes it to second reading, then there must be a Public Hearing,
  6. After this hearing the bylaws must receive at least a two-thirds “weighted” majority to be approved. Each municipality has an allocated number of votes, depending on population.

This process may sound tortuous and probably will take some time. The public across the entire Metro Vancouver region will need to keep up to date on the process, and be ready to give the appropriate input. The considerations of the Metro Board will take into account factors of population growth until 2040, transit, and other policies and provisions.

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