- BC Games
Deas Slough public hearing pits homes against rowers
Deas Slough will see the addition of 11 float homes and upland lots despite the protests of local recreational users of the waterway.
Council voted 6-0 to approve third reading on an application at 6303 River Rd. following a lengthy public hearing Tuesday evening which divided the float home community with rowers and dragon boaters.
"I know rowing and I can tell you that the plans, as they stand, do not take into account the vagaries of rowing," said Allison Taylor, a former administrator of Delta Deas Rowing Club. "A breath of wind can move a boat and the boats are big."
The channel is an estimated 240 metres at its widest point during high tide and Taylor said the rowers won't be able to turn around if the float homes are in the way, especially in low tide when the channel is narrower.
"I'm just concerned that there won't be any rowing in Delta if the plans go forward as they are," she said.
Jane McCall said the Delta Deas Rowing Club runs a six lane course, each 13.5 metres wide, requiring at least 80 metres of the channel during races. Olympic-sized regattas require eight lanes exceeding 100 metres in width.
"Rowers row backwards, so we don't see what's going on behind us and there's a huge potential for collisions, which is why if any of you had bothered to come down and look you would have noticed that rowers go up one side of the slough and down the other side."
McCall said rowers tend not to use of the centre of the slough at all, which requires even greater space than might be expected.
But float home proponents pointed out that the area is zoned to allow float homes and that they fit in with the character of Ladner.
"I think this is a perfect opportunity to show everybody around the Lower Mainland that recreation and housing can work together," said Leslie Abramson, a former harbour commissioner.
Abramson said that the developer is open to working with recreational users of the slough to address their concerns and that they should be able to continue those activities regardless of the float homes.
"I think it would be wonderful to drive through the [Massey] tunnel as a visitor and look to the right and see what's happening in Delta," she said. "They don't just have square boxes on straight streets."
Mike Owen, owner of Ladner Reach Marina which manages 28 float homes, said float homes can be beneficial for recreational or commercial boat users of Deas Slough. His company has a tugboat and a high speed small shallow draft rescue boat that can help stranded or injured people in the water.
"Floating homes aren't a detriment, they are a positive aspect of the very unique style of living here in Delta," he said.
Council granted third reading on the application with the stipulation of a restrictive covenant that would prevent a no-wake zone from being implemented and to let prospective homeowners know there is adjacent recreational activity prior to purchase.
The applicant will have to satisfy several conditions prior to final approval and adoption by council, including the provision of parking on the upland lots, flood proofing and raising of the dike to 4.1 metres along River Road, and environmental protection and riparian restoration. The application will now go to Port Metro Vancouver for approval to establish the water lots and float homes as the port negotiates head lease agreements with the province.