Delta and Metro to partner on Burns Bog reserve
Delta is moving closer to coming to terms with Metro Vancouver on a 25-year operating agreement for the management of the Burns Bog Ecological Conservancy Area. The Corporation of Delta is adding eight parcels of land totalling 400 hectares to the conservancy, including the 66-ha Delta Nature Reserve. Delta currently owns the reserve and allows the Burns Bog Conservation Society to provide educational tours and summer camps, but under the new agreement it would become managed by Metro. That has given at least one Delta councillor cause for concern.
“I think most North Deltans or Deltans would see this as one of our Delta parks,” said Coun. Jeannie Kanakos at a March 4 council meeting. “I really am concerned about handing over the management of a Delta park to Metro.”
Kanakos expressed discomfort with the agreement and wondered aloud whether it could create public access issues. Currently, the reserve is the only part of the 2,428 ha bog that is accessible to the public without a written permit. But Mayor Lois Jackson said there’s no cause for alarm.
“I think there’s an impression we’re giving this away to Metro Vancouver,” she said. “We’re happy they’re assisting us.”
Chief administrative officer George Harvie said that when the initial conservation covenant was signed in 2004, Metro Vancouver (then the Greater Vancouver Regional District) had agreed to take on overall management responsibility of Burns Bog while Delta agreed to take on fire and drainage issues.
“This was always part of the Burns Bog agreement, moving in this direction,” he said.
Harvie said the reserve in particular has always concerned staff because the Burns Bog Conservation Society has never had an official lease with the Corporation.
“So there’s also insurance questions, risk management questions…we want them to get a lease with Metro Vancouver.”
Eliza Olson, president of the Burns Bog Conservation Society, said she sent an email to Metro Vancouver last Friday saying the society is looking forward to working with them.
“It’ll mean that we’ll no longer be an orphan,” she said, referring to the long journey the society has taken to get here.
Prior to 2004 the group was set to set to sign an agreement with Delta but those plans changed in 2004 when the federal government, province, GVRD, and Delta signed the conservation document.
Olson said she doesn’t anticipate any public access changes to the reserve or the society’s role there.
In the draft operating agreement, section 4.2 acknowledges that the Delta Nature Reserve is in the process of being transferred into joint ownership with Metro Vancouver and when this occurs it will formally be considered “Additional Local Government Land” and be designated a regional park.