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EDITORIAL: Council makes right decision on Southlands
The approval of the controversial Southlands development proposal by Delta council on Friday means the end is near to close to 40 years of debate and uncertainty as to the future of the former Spetifore farm.
With the development proposal’s passing on third reading, it will now go before Metro Vancouver for approval within the regional growth strategy and amend Delta’s regional context statement.
Delta council deserves praise for supporting the passage of the revised Southlands development plan.
Despite vehement opposition from some of the development’s neighbours, Delta council made the decision that was right for all of Delta.
The current plan by developer Century Group strikes the right balance between development and conservation of farmland. It will also provide valuable tax revenues which will benefit all Deltans, and help revitalize Tsawwassen.
As a result of Delta’s vast geography, municipal costs associated with fire and police protection, as well as water and sewage infrastructure, are much higher compared to Lower Mainland communities of similar size. Yet Delta is able to maintain the second lowest property tax rate in the Lower Mainland.
Once complete, Southlands will generate an estimated $2 million in tax revenues for the municipality, which will help the Corporation of Delta maintain its low tax rates, benefiting all Delta homeowners.
The influx of new families and residents will also benefit Tsawwassen.
Long a family-friendly community, Tsawwassen has seen its children grow up and move away, as many are unable to afford to live in their own hometown.
In 2009, there were so few children left in the neighbourhood adjacent to the Southlands property, that the Delta School District was forced to close Boundary Beach Elementary School.
For local businesses, the influx of new families means more potential customers. That means more services and variety of businesses available in Tsawwassen’s town core, as well as local jobs, which again benefits all.
However, the residents of Tsawwassen who opposed the development should also be congratulated. Their continued concern for the fate of the Southlands farmland resulted in Century Group’s revised proposal, which will see 80 per cent of the property handed over to the Corporation of Delta to be used as farm and parkland.
Meanwhile, the 950 residential units planned in the development will be built on some of the property’s worst soil for farming.
Previous proposals for the Southlands property were too big, too sprawling, and did too little to preserve farmland. Thanks to the public’s vocal concern, Century Group has returned with a proposal that strikes the right balance.
Southlands will breathe new life in Tsawwassen. It will welcome young families to our community, provide local jobs, and help ensure Delta can continue to pay its bills.
Change is inevitable, but Southlands represents positive change for Tsawwassen.
Delta council recognized this, and was right to support this proposal.
-South Delta Leader