Opponents of port expansion and the industrialization of Delta's agricultural land are preparing for a rally this Saturday at Ladner's Magee Park.
Organized by the Council of Canadians, the event, which begins at 1 p.m., is expected to see a large crowd of concerned citizens and several different interest groups speak out against plans to covert prime farmland to industrial uses to serve port-related expansion.
"We need to stand up and get into the streets for our community. The port wants more valuable land for its expansion. Hundreds of acres of needed agricultural land are now under 'option' for development," says a posting by the Council of Canadians.
The group is asking people to show up with banners and placards.
Delta South MLA Vicki Huntington made public earlier this year option-topurchase agreements by an industrial consortium on 558 acres of prime farm properties in the Agricultural Land Reserve.
Huntington is concerned that if the consortium behind the optioning deals partnered with Port Metro Vancouver, there may be no need to go through the Agricultural Land Commission to exclude the land since the port falls within federal jurisdiction.
In response, Agriculture Minister Don McRae issued a statement saying there has been conjecture about Port Metro Vancouver not having to abide by ALC procedures. This is, at best, a hypothetical scenario and mere speculation, he said.
Delta council asked Premier Christy Clark to ensure Ottawa doesn't use its power to remove portrelated land from the ALR without the ALC's consent.
The potential loss of farmland to port-related development has also been a hot topic in Richmond, where Port Metro Vancouver three years ago purchased 200 acres of ALR land.
Meanwhile, also on Saturday, the port authority has scheduled a public open house in North Delta to inform people about efforts to update its long-term land use plan. The open house will be held at the North Delta Recreation Centre, 11415-84th Ave., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"When completed, the new Land Use Plan will articulate Port Metro Vancouver's policies on land use and development and identify the types of uses appropriate on land and water across its jurisdiction," says Port Metro Vancouver.
"It is one of the first steps we are taking in implementing the Port 2050 strategic vision. By continuing to work together in a respectful way with communities, industry and government, we can constructively approach the challenging and important discussion of land use in the Lower Mainland."