This is an important test case for the functioning of Metro Vancouver under the new Regional Growth Strategy, and will illustrate how things work. Opponents and proponents of the proposal are highly polarized, but the majority of public opinion appears to be opposed, and many feel that Delta’s Mayor and Council followed an unfair process and failed to consider many facts leading up to the Council approval on November 8, 2013. For video and extensive coverage, please visit the Southlands The Facts website at www.southlandsthefacts.ca.
Opponents are rallying forces to convince Metro Vancouver to reject Delta’s Council decision to allow development on the farmland in what is known as the Southlands (former Spetifore family farm), saying that Metro approval would set a bad precedent for agricultural land and green space remaining in Metro Vancouver.
Even though approximately 2/3 of submissions at the October Public Hearing were opposed to the Southlands development, Delta Council decided to forward the application to Metro Vancouver. Details of the application and timeline can be found on Metro Vancouver’s website.
The future of the Southlands is now in the hands of Metro, who will require a 2/3 majority weighted vote to change the Urban Containment Boundary and allow development on the Southlands. Metro will consider the application in relation to five guiding principles for how growth should occur in the Lower Mainland.
Southlands The Facts believes the application violates all five principles and urges citizens from around the region send in their opinions by email to Metro to GrowthStrategy@metrovancouver.org (for the Regional Planning and Agricultural Committee March 7, and/or the Metro Board on March 28). People are encouraged to base comments on Metro’s planning principles, which are summarized below.
The Regional Planning and Agricultural Committee meets on March 7th, followed by the Metro Vancouver Board of Directors, discussing the application on March 28th.
Goal 1 – Create a Compact Urban Area.
- Southlands is outside the Urban Containment Boundary and development would create high density housing far away from the Town Centre and transit services. In addition, Tsawwassen already has approximately 2500 approved housing units, which will result in large population increases already surpassing Metro’s goals for growth.
Goal 2 – Support a Sustainable Economy.
- Increasing the population does not guarantee increased economy and many of the new residents would be working outside of Tsawwassen. In addition, the loss of over 300 acres of farmland reduces the ability to create a sustainable agricultural economy, one that also supports food production and food security.
Goal 3 – Protect the Environment and Respond to Climate Change Impacts.
- Building on a floodplain, increasing number of vehicles, diesel particulates from the hundreds of thousands of dumptrucks of fill, destruction of bird and wildlife habitats – all poor ideas.
Goal 4 – Develop Complete Communities.
- The current plan will NOT provide “affordable” housing and diversity of housing will be determined by the future housing market. Putting houses far away from the town center will not function to develop a more “complete” Tsawwassen.
Goal 5 – Support Sustainable Transportation Choices.
- The location of the vast majority of the homes is as far away from transportation hubs as possible. Those living close to Boundary Bay will be serviced by a once an hour shuttle bus, forcing residents to drive rather than use more sustainable transportation choices.
Besides sending in written comments, individuals or groups may speak to the Committee as a delegation. Details http://www.metrovancouver.org/boards/speaking/Pages/default.aspx
Anticipated timeline for processing the Corporation of Delta’s request to amend the Regional Growth Strategy land use designations for portions of the Southlands site.
The current timeline that staff anticipate for processing the Southlands proposal indicates that a report will go to the Regional Planning and Agriculture Committee on March 7thand to the Board on March 28th.
This first report going to the Committee and Board will allow consideration of: initiation of the amendment, notification of affected local governments, 1st and 2nd reading of a Regional Growth Strategy amendment bylaw, and information about the required public hearing. You can find the anticipated timeline athttp://www.metrovancouver.org/planning/development/strategy/Pages/Amendments.aspx.