The application to develop the controversial Southlands property is approaching a critical juncture.
The Century Group wants to develop the 215-hectare (536-acre) Tsawwassen site with housing on 20 per cent, while handing over the remaining 80 per cent to Delta.
Following the concepts of new urbanism and agricultural urbanism, the rezoning involves the construction of 950 residential units in various forms and densities over several phases.
The application will come before Delta council at its Monday, Dec. 17 meeting, where a large crowd is expected to see if civic politicians direct staff to prepare a report for first and second reading.
If staff gets the go ahead, a report will come a month later when council will consider preliminary approval.
If the application makes it past those two votes, it would then head to Metro Vancouver.
In the weeks leading up to this month's crucial vote, Delta's advisory committees have discussed the future of the property should an application be approved, including what farming activities could take place.
At a recent meeting of the agricultural advisory committee, Century Group president Sean Hodgins made a presentation in which he proposed that during the first phase of construction, approximately 20 hectares (50 acres) to be given to Delta be used for community-based farming.
Hodgins has been insistent throughout that the land he would deed to the municipality be used for community farming, but it remains to be seen if Delta is on the same page.
It was noted that a possible concept is for the Century Group to lease the land after his company establishes a non-profit organization to manage the farming.
That separate group would administer the basic farm infrastructure and get established and new farmers involved, the committee was told.
Century Group indicated it would be willing to oversee the organization for approximately 10 years, at which time it would be handed to Delta.
Delta's environmental advisory committee last month also looked at farming issues on the Southlands, with some members expressing concern regarding small-scale versus large-scale, as well as the potential use of pesticides.
Members were in agreement the optimum use for the land deeded to Delta would be for farming that is free of toxins and genetically modified crops.
The environment committee encouraged the expansion of the Earthwise Society's farm at the site as well as organic, small-lot production to enhance biodiversity and encourage local food production.
According to a sustainability assessment by the Century Group, the community-based farming envisioned can provide a regional model for other agricultural land adjacent to or within urbanized areas.
According to the company's Official Community Plan amendment application, "The parcels designated for farming have the highest soil quality and the best agricultural potential once improvements to irrigation and drainage are completed."
Southlands the Facts has been busy organizing opposition to the development proposal, encouraging residents to submit letters to council.
The group says Century's proposal would permanently remove roughly half of the Southlands farmland from its "current farmable state" and turn it into residential use. The group also notes the approach of small-scale farming has a number of serious flaws.
The group has also been in a war of words with Delta council over its claim the municipality has the power to stop greenhouses being built on the property through a nuisance bylaw.
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