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Southlands moves forward to Metro Vancouver
The Southlands application moved a step closer to being heard by Metro Vancouver on Monday, as Delta Council approved a draft letter and supporting materials be forwarded to the regional government. Delta is seeking an amendment to the Regional Growth Strategy following its third reading approval of the Southlands application in November, but will require approval from the Metro board.
The 14-page report included a letter to Metro board chair Greg Moore, along with an overview of the proposal, process, local and regional context, commentary from council, supporting information, and a request to appear as a delegation.
Coun. Sylvia Bishop, who voted against third reading in November and also against forwarding the report, seemed confused by the commentary section in the report, calling them subjective statements.
Declaring she had no intention to “reopen debate” she was nevertheless taken aback by a statement that the development would provide Tsawwassen with a more “complete community.”
“I think the people of Tsawwassen would be surprised to learn that they do not have a complete community in light of the housing available, the amenities that are already there,” she said.
Bishop said there were more instances of subjective wording in the report, including the words “this application is an unbelievable deal for agriculture.”
But Mayor Lois Jackson pointed out that the statements listed on page five of the report aimed to reflect comments made by the members of Delta Council when making their decision to approve third reading.
Deputy planning director Marcy Sangret said the report was intended to provide Metro Vancouver and its board chair with an overview of the proposal, a summary of the process that has been taken up to this point, and excerpts of commentary taken from the council minutes reflecting its opinion.
“We have taken liberties of pulling out some of the council commentary that we felt was relevant to the regional question,” she said. “It’s certainly not all of the comments that have been made by council.”
Sangret said Metro Vancouver will receive all previous information on the Southlands, including the full minutes and video tape of council’s discussion, so that Metro staff and its board can see exactly how everything occurred.
She said staff tried to synthesize the previously documented work into a concise letter, knowing that would be accompanied by a lot of technical documentation.
Bishop also asked whether staff would be sending Metro Vancouver a running tally of supporters and opponents based on correspondence received by the Corporation, but chief administrative officer George Harvie said staff didn’t like the idea.
Harvie said some letters and petitions were submitted more than once and the signatures and authors were difficult to verify.
“If an individual wants to write what they felt the score was as far as for and against that’s up the individuals that can write to Metro,” he said. “But as staff we did not want to recommend anything to council that we couldn’t have certainty if the numbers were correct.”
Delta is seeking to amend its Regional Context Statement through Metro’s Regional Growth Strategy by changing the land use designation of approximately 27 per cent of the Southlands from Agricultural to General Urban, and then adding these lands to the Urban Containment Boundary.
It will also seek to change the regional land use designation of approximately 19 per cent of the land from Agricultural to Conservation and Recreation.
The Southlands application aims to put 950 homes on 20 per cent of the 217 hectares, and transfer the remainder to Delta to be rezoned A1 Agriculture. If the application proceeds past Metro, some members of council have previously floated the idea that the land would be returned to the Agricultural Land Reserve from which it was removed in 1981.