Text of Metro Vancouver staff report on Delta’s Southlands development, for May 23, 2014, board meeting

Metro Vancouver Delta Southlands staff report top page for 23-May-2014The Metro Vancouver (GVRD) Board of Directors will meet starting 9 am on Friday, May 23, 2014 at the organization’s headquarters in Burnaby.

The proposal by Delta to amend the Regional Growth Strategy to permit a major development on Southlands in Tsawwassen is probably one of the biggest issues in the region this year. It is a test case for the RGS and Metro.

Agenda item G.1.1 is a May 15 report written by Metro Staff to the Board for the May 23 meeting, entitled Corporation of Delta Proposed Amendment to Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping our Future for SouthlandsThe biggest news is the staff RECOMMENDATION: That the GVRD Board decline the Corporation of Delta’s request to amend Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping Our Future.

We think the staff have done quite a good job of summarizing the input and issues. Now it is up to the Metro Vancouver Board of Directors to decide.

To download the agenda and documents, please visit the website here, then look for “GVRD Board Meeting 2” on May 23, and click to download 26 MB in PDF format. (The related documentation is on pages 270 – 369 of the total 437 pages.) As a convenience for our readers, we copy first nine pages below (includes detailed summary of the May 1 Public Hearing, key issues, etc.). Other useful items are in the full PDF. Download the main ten pages PDF format Metro staff report on Southlands_2014-May-23_AGE.

To: GVRD Board of Directors
From: Allan Neilson, General Manager, Planning, Policy and Environment Department
Elisa Campbell, Director of Regional and Strategic Planning
Planning, Policy and Environment Department
Date: May 15, 2014 Meeting Date: May 23, 2014
Subject: Corporation of Delta Proposed Amendment to Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping
our Future for Southlands

RECOMMENDATION

That the GVRD Board decline the Corporation of Delta’s request to amend Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping Our Future.

PURPOSE

To provide the Metro Vancouver Board with the opportunity to consider the Corporation of Delta’s request to amend Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping Our Future (Metro 2040) to accommodate a development proposal for the Southlands properties.

BACKGROUND

On January 14, 2014 the Corporation of Delta (Delta) submitted a request to amend Metro 2040, the regional growth strategy, in order to accommodate a development proposal commonly known as Southlands. Delta requested the amendment after Council held a local public hearing and gave third reading to Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw amendments to accommodate the Southlands development application.

As per “Regional Growth Strategy Procedures Bylaw No. 1148”, the Regional Planning Advisory Committee (RPAC) reviewed a draft staff analysis report at its February 21, 2014 meeting. RPAC received the staff report for information. The Regional Planning and Agriculture Committee considered the staff analysis report on March 7, 2014, at which time Delta staff were also in attendance to give a presentation on the municipal staff report and process.

At its March 28, 2014 meeting, the Metro Vancouver Board initiated the Corporation of Delta’s amendment request, gave 1st and 2nd readings to “Greater Vancouver Regional District Regional Growth Strategy Amendment Bylaw No. 1203, 2014” (Attachment 1) and directed staff to notify all affected local governments of the proposed amendment. A public hearing was held on May 1, 2014, with written submissions received until May 9, 2014. The Board is now being given the opportunity to consider giving third reading to the amendment bylaw.

The Corporation of Delta has requested that should the Board be willing to approve the proposed Metro 2040 amendment, that the Board not adopt the amendment Bylaw until such time that the Corporation of Delta has secured all of the requirements of the phased development agreement that it is proposing to enter into with the landowner. Therefore, no option to adopt the Bylaw is provided at this time. At such time that Delta adopts its OCP amendment, the municipality would notify Metro Vancouver and submit an updated Regional Context Statement (RCS) for the Metro Vancouver Board to consider adoption of the amendment bylaw along with RCS acceptance.

DISCUSSION

Summary of the Amendment Request

The Southlands site is a 217.5 hectare site made up of seven properties located in the Corporation of Delta. The site is bounded on the south by the US border, the north by the community of Beach Grove, the northeast by Boundary Bay Regional Park, and the west by the community of Tsawwassen. The site is designated Agricultural in the Corporation of Delta’s Official Community Plan (OCP), designated Agricultural in Metro 2040, is not in the Agricultural Land Reserve, and is within the Fraser Sewerage Area. The requested amendment is a Type 2 amendment, and consists of re-designating 59.7 hectares from Agricultural to General Urban, extending the Urban Containment Boundary to include the new General Urban areas, and re-designating 42.2 hectares from Agricultural to Conservation and Recreation.

The owner of the Southlands properties has proposed a comprehensive, mixed-use development that includes 950 residential units in various forms and densities, and approximately 80,000 square feet of ground-oriented commercial space. The parts of the site proposed to be re-designated to Metro 2040 General Urban are situated in two locations: one on the Boundary Bay side of the site, called “Southlands Village”, and one on a smaller area on the western side of the site off of 56th Street called “Southlands Gateway”. The owner also proposes to construct a new connector road through the site extending from 56th Street and 4th Avenue to Boundary Bay Road and 3rd Avenue.

The owner proposes to transfer 172 hectares of land to the Corporation of Delta to be held in public ownership. This land, which constitutes about 80 percent of the site, would be used for agriculture, natural habitat, public open space and greenways. The owner also proposes to provide $9 million to the Corporation of Delta to improve agricultural drainage and irrigation on site – infrastructure that Delta has identified as essential to improving the existing Southlands soil quality and increasing the agricultural capacity of the land. Delta Council has indicated its intent, if the proposed amendment is approved, to discuss with the Agricultural Land Commission which portions of the land acquired by the Corporation of Delta would be appropriate for inclusion in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

External Agency Comments and Public Input

Input to Metro Vancouver has been received through various means on an ongoing basis since Delta’s amendment request was received in January 2014: written submissions in advance of opening to receive public hearing materials; delegations to the Regional Planning and Agriculture Committee; municipal and other agency comment; and a public hearing (oral and written submissions).

 Written submissions in advance of opening to receive public hearing materials
Metro Vancouver received 170 submissions prior to the opening of receiving public hearing materials (up to April 24, 2014). Of these written submissions, 38 (22%) were in favour of the proposed amendment, and 130 (78%) were against (Reference 1).

Delegations to the Regional Planning and Agriculture Committee
Nine delegations appeared at the Regional Planning and Agriculture Committee meeting on March 7 and two appeared at the Board meeting on March 28th, 2014. Of the delegations, 1 (9%) spoke in favour of the proposed amendment and 10 (91%) spoke against it.

 Affected local governments and agencies
Through the notification process, Metro Vancouver received correspondence on the proposed amendment from five municipalities as well as TransLink. Correspondence was received from: the City of Burnaby, the City of North Vancouver, the City of Coquitlam, the Corporation of Delta, the City of Pitt Meadows, and TransLink (Attachment 2).

  • The City of Burnaby passed a resolution to receive the City of Burnaby staff report for information and submit the report to Metro Vancouver. The City of Burnaby staff report recommended that the proposed amendment for Southlands be declined.
  • The City of North Vancouver passed a resolution that there were no direct impacts identified and supporting the referral to a regional public hearing.
  • The City of Coquitlam Council passed a motion supporting the proposed amendment for Southlands.
  • The Corporation of Delta staff advised Metro Vancouver that Council would consider the issue at its on April 7, 2014 meeting.
  • The City of Pitt Meadows Council is not opposed to the application but requests that “Metro Vancouver consider any precedents that may exist in the creation of a residential community with few alternatives to personal vehicle use, given the limited access to the frequent transit network.”
  • The comments received from TransLink state that the development, as proposed, will not further the goals of the Regional Transportation Strategy in regards to shifting transportation modes and fostering sustainable transportation choices.

 Public hearing

The oral portion of a regional public hearing was held on May 1, 2014; written comments were received from April 24 – May 9, 2014. Seventy-two speakers were heard on May 1, and 863 submissions were received as part of the public hearing materials. Minutes of the oral portion of the public hearing are attached (Attachment 3), and all of the written submissions are available electronically (Reference 2).

Of the 72 speakers heard, 41 (57%) spoke in favour of the proposed amendment, and 31 (43%) spoke against it. Of the public hearing written submissions, 186 (22%) were in favour of the proposed amendment, and 672 (78%) were against.

The input received through the course of the public hearing reflects issues raised in both the Delta and Metro Vancouver staff reports.

Those who expressed support for the amendment request suggested that the development proposal would:

  • increase housing diversity and promote housing affordability, particularly for younger people wishing to live in Tsawwassen as well as the older generation wanting to downsize;
  • contribute to Tsawwassen becoming a more complete community through increased amenities and commercial opportunities, and by acting as a catalyst to revitalize the Boundary Bay and Tsawwassen communities;
  •  provide an opportunity to link urban/suburban/rural lifestyles;
  •  not contribute to “sprawl” as the site is surrounded by urban development;
  •  promote viability of local food production through an infrastructure investment of $9 million aimed at improving drainage on the site;
  •  be an innovative pilot project for small-scale farming in urban settings, contributing to food security and potentially attracting young farmers to the land; and
  •  represent a well thought out compromise to an issue that has divided the community for decades.

Those who opposed the development proposal expressed concerns related to:

  •  the approximately 2500 residential units already approved for development in the area (over 1800 units of approved housing at the Tsawwassen First Nation development and nearly 500 units approved through Tsawwassen Springs) that on their own provide more than enough capacity to accommodate the Tsawwassen Area Plan’s projections for growth;
  •  the site’s flood risk, including deficiencies in meeting provincial guidelines for adapting to sea level rise, the implications of transporting and adding a significant amount of fill to the site, and uncertainty over who would bear the future costs of addressing flooding issues given the covenants proposed that would absolve the Corporation of Delta from liability;
  •  the required 60,000 truckloads of fill required;
  •  the net loss of farmland that would result;
  •  the effectiveness of the community farming model;
  •  the potential impact on an important stop on the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds;
  •  the distance of the site from the centre of Tsawwassen, which would likely require residents to drive for employment and for their day-to-day needs;
  •  the lack of viability for public transit services; and
  •  the risk to agricultural lands throughout the region from increased speculation that could arise if Metro Vancouver supports a model in which a large part of a development site is given to the local government in return for the right to develop a smaller portion of the site.

Clarification of Issues

Two issues requiring clarification arose during the Regional Planning and Agriculture Committee meeting and the public hearing: the ability to secure protection, in perpetuity, for agricultural and conservation uses on the lands identified for transfer to Delta; and the actual amount of land, as a percentage of the entire site, to be designated for agriculture.

 Protection in perpetuity of publicly owned lands – covenants

At its March 7, 2014 meeting, the Regional Planning and Agriculture Committee expressed concern that the 20-year phased development agreement proposed between the Corporation of Delta and the landowner may not adequately secure protection in perpetuity for agricultural and conservation uses on the lands to be conveyed to Delta. The Committee asked if covenants were being provided for these areas.

The Corporation of Delta confirmed its intent to place covenants on the publicly-owned Agricultural, Conservation and Recreation lands, and on the open space within the General Urban area. Delta provided sample covenants as part of its submission to the public hearing (Attachment 5). In the correspondence conveying the covenants, Delta has offered that it would grant restrictive covenants in Metro Vancouver’s favour in an effort to ensure greater protection for these lands in perpetuity.

The provision of covenants to secure amenities is common practice during municipal rezoning processes. Covenants are normally prepared between third and final readings of the rezoning bylaw and are executed upon adoption of the bylaw. The circumstances in this case are somewhat different; Metro Vancouver is responding to an application from the Corporation of Delta to amend Metro 2040, but, the Corporation of Delta is not the current owner or developer of the lands.

Although there is no legal impediment to Metro Vancouver being a party to covenants, it has not been Metro Vancouver’s practice to secure amenities and/or covenants when considering a Metro 2040 amendment. Doing so could be perceived as establishing a precedent, and from staff’s perspective is unnecessary. In addition, while Metro 2040 was being developed, questions were raised by the Urban Development Institute, developers, and some municipalities regarding the future possibility of Metro Vancouver securing amenities when amending the plan. At the time, Metro Vancouver staff indicated that was not the intention. Staff does not recommend that covenants in Metro Vancouver’s name or other amenities be sought as part of this or future Metro 2040 amendment processes.

 Allocation of land uses

At the public hearing, there seemed to be confusion as to the percentage of land committed to agriculture as a part of the proposal. Several speakers referenced the ‘80/20 split’. As a point of clarification, and as was expressed in both the initial Metro Vancouver staff report and Delta’s staff report, while the land owner proposes to turn 80% of the land over to public ownership, not all of that land would be reserved for agriculture. The allocation of land uses proposed is as follows:

  •  Currently, all of the land (217.5 ha) is privately owned and is protected from urban development through local and regional agricultural land use designations. It is designated Agricultural in Delta’s OCP, is zoned for agriculture, and is designated Agricultural in Metro 2040.
  •  Through the proposal, 80% (172 ha) of the land would be conveyed to Delta (i.e., transferred to public ownership) and 20% (45.5 ha) of the land would remain in private ownership.
  •  Of the 80%, 42.2 ha would be designated Conservation and Recreation. This amount constitutes 19.4% of the entire site.
  •  The development proposal calls for 59.7 ha (27% of the entire site) to be designated as General Urban. This portion would include the publicly-owned Market Square area.
  •  115.6 ha (53% of the entire site) would remain designated Metro 2040 Agricultural, the majority of which would be publicly-owned and eligible for consideration to be placed back into the ALR. One parcel, which currently contains a heritage home, would remain Agricultural and in private ownership.

In sum, the publicly owned land comprising 80% of the site would be a mix of General Urban, Agricultural, and Conservation and Recreation.

Metro Vancouver Staff Analysis

A Metro Vancouver staff report titled “Corporation of Delta Proposed Regional Growth Strategy Amendment for Southlands” was provided to the Board at its March 28, 2014 meeting (Attachment 4). The report evaluates the proposed amendment through the lens of each of the goals of Metro 2040 and can be referred to for detailed analysis that will not be replicated herein. Based on the initial staff report, input received from affected local governments and agencies, and submissions from the public, staff offers the following points for the Board’s consideration.

The Regional Role

Metro Vancouver has an important role as the steward of a broad set of values which must be considered from a regional perspective. This role means that the amendment request must be considered in terms of the long-term implications for the whole region, and in particular in the context of the broader intent of Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping our Future, which is to guide the development of the region in an affordable, healthy and livable manner that supports the efficient provision of transportation, regional infrastructure and community services.

Municipal Benefits

While staff analysis has focused on regional implications, much of the input received has highlighted the municipal benefits of the proposal, which are worth acknowledging as they reflect the innovations inherent in the development proposal.

It is clear that the Southlands development as proposed would offer significant benefits to the community, not the least of which is the resolution of a long-standing, divisive issue with a solution that sees the innovative development of only 20% of the site, and the remaining 80% turned over to the municipality for primarily conservation, recreation and agricultural uses. The proponent’s thoughtfulness, consideration of community values, and commitment to providing an innovative proposal is commended. Delta is highly committed to the protection of agricultural land and has a strong policy base and track record of working hard to enhance the viability of agriculture. The provision of $9 million toward activating just over 50% of the site through improved irrigation and drainage would rectify drainage insufficiencies that have developed over time, thereby benefitting agriculture in Delta. It is clear that a number of local residents feel strongly that the proposal would help revitalize the Boundary Bay community as well as act as a catalyst for growth and amenities in the Tsawwassen area.

Urban Containment and a Compact Region

The commitment to a compact region is a fundamental tenet of Metro 2040. The importance of the urban containment boundary in supporting the efficient use of land and provision of urban infrastructure, including transportation, cannot be understated, particularly when the boundary has been charted carefully, with the municipality’s full agreement, to protect farmland.

The proposed amendment represents a significant breach of the Urban Containment Boundary onto agricultural land, placing 2,500 residents at the very edge of the region with limited transportation options beyond private vehicles. There is capacity within the existing urban footprint to accommodate all anticipated growth in Delta to 2040, which was confirmed in Delta’s recently accepted Regional Context Statement. Consistent with the RCS, Delta’s current Tsawwassen Area Plan contains policy to ‘concentrate medium density housing in and around the Town Centre to eliminate the necessity of consuming farmland for residential use.’ As a result, the proposal, despite its innovative design and benefits to the local community, does not support the regional goal of directing growth to existing centres and developed areas.

Complete Communities and Sustainable Transportation Options

The proposed development is designed as a comprehensive development that supports numerous aspects of building complete communities, including a diversity of housing types, a mix of uses including residential, commercial and institutional uses, public open space and access to greenways and natural habitat. As well, when considered in the broader municipal context of the Tsawwassen First Nation development and Tsawwassen Springs development, the notion of a more diverse and complete community for Tsawwassen as a whole clearly begins to emerge. The proposal increases housing choice for an area predominantly made up of single family residences, offering more diverse and affordable housing types appropriate for a range of age groups. It also provides more population to support commercial uses and employment in the Tsawwassen local centre.

However, the location of the proposed development is far enough away from both the local centre and other centres in the region that, in the absence of transit options, access to most amenities and employment will need to be by private vehicle. This reliance on car travel would make it more difficult to meet regional greenhouse gas emission targets. The reliance on automobiles also stands in contrast to the Metro 2040 goal related to sustainable transportation choices.

Protecting Agricultural Land to Support Food Production

The current proposal for the Southlands development incorporates numerous provisions for protecting agricultural land and improving the viability of that land for food production. 53% (115.6 ha) of the total site would remain designated Metro 2040 Agricultural, the majority of which is proposed to be conveyed to Delta for public ownership, strengthening the ability to fulfill a commitment to long-term agricultural use of the land. Delta has directed its staff, should the proposal proceed, to approach the Agricultural Land Commission about considering which of the lands being conveyed to Delta would be appropriate for inclusion in the Agricultural Land Reserve. In addition, the landowner has committed $9 million for improving agricultural drainage on site. Delta has noted that 91 hectares of agricultural land (in public ownership) would be leased to farmers for larger scale, soil-based farming on improved land. And finally, substantial effort and innovation have gone into the proposal’s efforts to integrate small-scale agriculture into the community design. Consistent with this approach, the landowner plans to lease back 18.7 hectares of agricultural land for small-scale farming and to develop and operate the “Market Square” area.

Despite these features, the proposal would result in a net loss of agricultural land, with 20% of the entire site being converted to General Urban, and another 30% converted to Conservation and Recreation land uses. The Southlands site has been consistently designated and zoned for agriculture in municipal and regional plans for over 30 years, and currently 100% of the site is protected from urban development. The loss of agricultural land should the proposed amendment be accepted would be significant.

Metro 2040 is clear about the importance of agricultural lands as vital regional assets, and is clear in outlining the need for protecting them for future use. Over the coming decades, the importance of agricultural lands to the region will only increase in the face of significant population growth and development. Agricultural lands, such as those at the centre of the proposed Southlands development, that are presently under-utilized for farming may very well be improved through future investments as their need and value for food production increase. The proposed development, however, would remove a substantial portion of the lands from the agricultural land inventory, and in so doing would eliminate their future farming potential.

Other challenges in terms of Metro 2040’s agricultural policies include: the increase in the length of the Urban / Agricultural interface under the proposal; the concern about the economic viability of the community based agriculture; and, the proposed road through the site, which would fragment the remaining agricultural area.

The Natural Environment

The proposed amendment protects environmental values on 42.2 hectares of land and would add these publicly owned lands to the regional Conservation and Recreation designation. This initiative would result in the protection of habitat for the 29.3 hectares of sloped, forested lands on the southwestern corner of the site, and for 12.9 hectares adjacent to Boundary Bay Regional Park. There has been an expressed interest in exploring the potential to add the latter lands to the regional park. Delta has also indicated the potential for changing the designation of a portion of the land given to public ownership to Environmentally Sensitive Area 3 within the Official Community Plan. On balance, the proposed amendment is consistent with Metro 2040 goal of protecting the environment, through enhancing environmental and recreation areas, and incorporating natural features and connectivity.

Climate Change and Natural Hazard Risks

Metro 2040 includes strategies that focus on preparing for, and mitigating risks from, climate change impacts and associated regional natural hazards. The proposed amendment is for a development that is located in an area with significant risks of natural hazards including anticipated sea level rise and the increased risk for flooding that will result. The current proposal does not follow best practices for climate change adaptation, which is a cause for concern. While the proposed flood construction level of 4.2 m does exceed current municipal requirements (2.9m based on a fifty year time horizon), provincial guidelines recommend flood construction levels be based on projected sea level rise by 2100, which for this location would be 6.2 m.

Delta has stated that a proposed berm enhances the flood protection level. It is able to be built up over time if sea level rise warrants it. The challenge with this approach is twofold: first, Delta is using only a 50 year projection rather than to 2100 as recommended by the Province; and second, although the berm could be built up in the future, there is no funding allocated in the proposal to do this potentially expensive work.

Precedent for Development Pressure on Agricultural Land

A key concern is that approving the proposal may lead to greater development pressure on agricultural land across the region. The vast majority of agricultural land in the region is privately owned. The Agricultural Land Commission, Metro Vancouver, and municipalities protect this land through regulation (ALR, Metro 2040 land use designations, OCP designations and zoning). While the Southlands property was removed from the ALR in the early 1980s, both the Corporation of Delta and Metro Vancouver have continued to protect the property from urban development through land use designations and zoning. Approving this proposal and accepting Agricultural land into public ownership as an amenity is based on the premise that greater protection is offered by ownership than through regulation alone. As a result, approval of this development could signal to private agricultural land owners that the strategy of dense development on one portion in exchange for public ownership of the rest is a desirable amenity. In turn, this message may lead to greater speculation on agricultural land and a proliferation of these types of applications across the region.

ALTERNATIVES

1. That the GVRD Board decline the Corporation of Delta’s request to amend Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping Our Future.

2. That the GVRD Board give 3rd reading to “Greater Vancouver Regional District Regional Growth Strategy Amendment Bylaw No. 1203, 2014” and notify the Corporation of Delta.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

There are no further financial implications anticipated for either alternative. The cost of the public hearing for this Type 2 amendment was approximately $22,500.

REGIONAL PLANNING IMPLICATIONS

If the Board chooses Alternative 1, the Board determines that the proposed amendment is not consistent with the fundamental tenets of Metro 2040. The decision would end the amendment process.

Choosing Alternative 1 would indicate that there are not a sufficiently compelling reasons to support the proposed amendment as it is not consistent with Metro 2040 and the desire to develop the region in an affordable, healthy and livable manner that supports the efficient provision of transportation, regional infrastructure and community services.

If the Board chooses Alternative 2, the Board determines that the requested amendment is an acceptable outcome. It would signal approval of the amendment.

The Southlands site has key characteristics that collectively distinguish it from other land in the region and potentially isolate this request from setting a precedent: it is the sole, large piece of agriculturally-designated land in the region not in the ALR and it is within the regional sewerage area. If the Board chooses Alternative 2, supporting the amendment as an acceptable outcome given its unique context, the Board may choose to consider passing one or more resolutions to partially mitigate some of the risks and inconsistencies with Metro 2040 identified in this report.

The Corporation of Delta has requested that should the Board be willing to approve the proposed Metro 2040 amendment, that the Board not adopt the amendment Bylaw until such time that the Corporation of Delta has secured all of the requirements of the phased development agreement that it is proposing to enter into with the landowner. The Corporation of Delta and landowner would complete the requirements of the phased development agreement and adopt the associated OCP and local Zoning Bylaw amendments. The Metro Vancouver Board could then give final reading to Bylaw 1203, thus amending Metro 2040. If the Board chooses to adopt the amendment bylaw at this time, the risk is that the Corporation of Delta may not end up passing its OCP and zoning bylaw amendments due to non-completion of the phased development agreement. Metro 2040 and the OCP would then have different designations for the Southlands site.

SUMMARY / CONCLUSION

Metro Vancouver, through implementing the collective vision for growth in the region signed on to by all member municipalities, has an important role as the steward of a broad set of issues which must be considered from a comprehensive and integrated perspective, and most importantly, from a regional perspective. As a result, it is important to emphasize that the regional role is to consider Delta’s request not in the context of the benefits for the municipality, but in terms of the implications the proposed amendment might have over the long-term for the whole region. Specifically, Metro Vancouver’s role is to comment on the consistency of the proposed amendment with Metro 2040, and with the broader intent of guiding the development of the region in an affordable, healthy and livable manner that supports the efficient provision of transportation, regional infrastructure and community services.

There are a number of elements of the proposed amendment that support Metro 2040 objectives:

  • supports aspects of building complete communities;
  • incorporates numerous provisions for protecting agricultural land and improving the viability of that land for food production; and
  • protects environmental values and natural habitat.

The elements of the proposed amendment that challenge or compromise Metro 2040 objectives are:

  • breach of the Urban Containment Boundary;
  • loss of agricultural land;
  • lack of support for sustainable transportation choices;
  • located in an area with significant risks of natural hazards and does not follow best practices for climate change adaptation; and
  • potential to result in increased development pressure on agricultural land across the region.

When considered through the regional lens, staff’s professional opinion is that on balance, despite the fact that Delta’s amendment request is to accommodate an innovative development application with many community benefits, there is not a sufficiently compelling reason to support the proposed amendment. Staff recommends, therefore, Alternative 1, to decline the Corporation of Delta’s request to amend Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping Our Future.

Attachments: (Doc. #9457223)

  1. “Greater Vancouver Regional District Regional Growth Strategy Amendment Bylaw No. 1203, 2014”
  2. Comments received from affected local governments (City of Burnaby, City of North Vancouver, City of Coquitlam, Corporation of Delta, City of Pitt Meadows and TransLink)
  3. Summary of Public Hearing
  4. Metro Vancouver staff report titled ”Corporation of Delta Proposed Regional Growth Strategy Amendment for Southlands” dated February 21, 2014
  5. Draft covenants submitted by the Corporation of Delta

References

1. Public_comments_on Southlands received by Metro_Vancouver_prior to public hearing (up_to_April 24, 2014)

2. Public hearing written submissions received between April 24 and May 9, 2014

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One Response to Text of Metro Vancouver staff report on Delta’s Southlands development, for May 23, 2014, board meeting

  1. Jean Wightman says:

    I believe that Metro has made the correct recommendation and I hope the directors follow suit. there is too much against developing on this earthquake-sensitive floodplain, that is removed from the town centre and its services and is not well connected to transit services. 60,000 truckloads of fill going down the community’s only main street can hardly be considered ‘green’, nor can the addition of hundreds and hundreds of more cars be ‘green’ either. I hope this divisive issue can be put to rest once and for all.

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