Marina Gardens project riles Ladner residents
Hundreds of residents packed the Ladner Community Centre last Thursday to listen to the new plan for the undeveloped northeast portion of Marina Garden Estates.
The neighbourhood density has been reduced by 70 units to a total of 1,356, adding 737 units of single-family dwellings, townhomes, stacked townhomes, and condos to the existing 619 units spanning eight neighbourhoods.
But Stan Lawson, president of the Marina Garden Homeowners Association, isn’t happy.
“They haven’t changed anything,” he said. “The proposal they put on the table May 14 is the same as it is today.”
The 87-hectare site was initially slated for 1,426 homes as well as the golf course, a 220-room hotel, a marina, a neighbourhood pub and limited commercial uses.
At issue is the rezoning application by Polygon Homes to increase the density of the area designated 2A to 49 units per hectare from its current zoning allowance of 42 units/ha.
“They’ve bumped up their density as we’ve gone along here, which to us is just not acceptable,” said Lawson.
But Marina Garden Estates has a special designation in Delta’s Official Community Plan (OCP), which allows for higher densities. According to the OCP, Delta is a “mature community” with “little undeveloped land available for new housing” with the exceptions of Marina Garden Estates in Ladner and the Delsom lands in North Delta.
Polygon Homes has argued the proposed higher density land use in Marina Garden Estates is consistent with the density contemplated at the time the land use was approved by Delta council in 1996 and adopted into the OCP in 2005.
Although the townhomes are slated for higher density, the plan calls for a total density of 16.2 units/ha once the entire subdivision is completed in 10 years.
Mary-Lynne Burke, a resident who lives in South Point, the first subdivision built on the west side of River Road, likes the project.
“We need more dwellings, we need more people in Delta and Ladner,” she said. “We need more development and smaller houses, like condos, and we need more rental.”
Burke said the townhomes will be attractive for young families starting out, particularly being so close to Neilson Grove Elementary School.
“We need more people who are going to pay taxes because with Ladner and Tsawwassen, I think we’re going backwards. Without development we start losing our young people who can’t afford to live here. We don’t want this to become a place just for wealthy retirees.”
Burke said the area was carefully planned by the Corporation and existing roads were built with the expectation of handling higher density and traffic.
But Lawson said residents aren’t getting what they were originally promised. And although parkades are proposed in the plan to avoid a street parking crisis, Lawson doesn’t want them.
“You know what that brings. crime, vagrants, the whole bit.”
Burke scoffed at the idea.
“If we do this right—and Polygon is a quality developer—we could have our own little Côte d’Azur here,” she said, pointing to False Creek in Vancouver as an example of successful high density development.