Thursday, May 1, 2014

Southlands in Delta

Just as the Township of Langley has its controversial University District, the Corporation of Delta has its controversial Southlands project. But unlike the Township of Langley which fought the regional planning process, Delta is following regional process to change land use from agricultural to urban.

Proposed Regional Growth Strategy Land Use Designation Changes. Select map to enlarge.

The Southlands development proposal encompasses 217.5 hectares of land that is currently designated agricultural under regional zoning. The proponent is seeking to designated 59.7 hectares for urban use, 42.2 hectares for conservation and recreation use, with the reaming 115.6 hectares remaining agricultural. In total, 950 residential units varying from single family to three storey apartments are proposed to be built along 80,000 square feet of commercial (including a mixed-use village.)

Proposed Land Uses for the Southlands Site. Select map to enlarge.

The interesting thing about the Southlands project is that the land was removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve in the 1980s, but was a third-rail issue in Delta politics. Projects in the past have been proposed, but none have moved forward.

What convinced Delta to support this proposal was that the proponent of Southlands plans to give 172 hectares, about 80% of the project area, to Delta for agriculture, natural habitat, public open space and greenways. The proponent also plans to provide $9 million to Delta for improving agricultural drainage and irrigation for the agricultural land in Southlands.

Metro Vancouver is holding a public hearing on the Southlands development proposal at 11am this morning. More information on the public hearing and the Southlands proposal can be found on their website. The proponent of Southlands also has a website on the proposal.

At the end of the day will agricultural be improved in Delta because of this project? Delta thinks so, but will the region?

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