Century Group president Sean Hodgins made another presentation to Delta council Monday to discuss his development proposal for the Southlands.
The meeting at municipal hall was filled with both opponents and supporters of the project that would see 950 housing units built in exchange for 80 per cent of the 215-hectare (537-acre) site deeded to Delta.
Saying he wants to work with Delta and the community on what type of farming activity could take place on the 80 per cent portion of the Tsawwassen property, Hodgins' brief presentation was more to do with providing an update on the timeline and process.
"When I think about what the future of this land is, from the very beginning it was about how the agriculture would be utilized for the benefit of the community and what form and character that agriculture is going to be," Hodgins told council.
Hodgins said the Southlands is a great opportunity to have a publicly-owned community farm
It's not the first time a land transfer had been pitched for the Southlands. In 1990, a group called Delta Citizens For Properly Planned Development talked with representatives of Century Holdings (the previous name of the company) about a potential trade-off.
The group discussed a "donation" of 60 or 70 acres that could be used for a multi-use community facility. However, most of the community and council, coming off the highly contentious TDL public hearing only a year earlier, had no appetite to entertain another development idea.
The current offer proposed by Century Group is much larger, involving hundreds of acres to the municipality.
It remains to be seen if there is enough support from council and the community this time around to make such a deal.
Delta CAO George Harvie, noting the cost to upgrade the property for farming must be paid by the applicant, said comments and information would be gathered at an upcoming open house before staff members prepare another report.
That report will be presented to council in mid-December, asking how council wants to proceed. If it moves further along, the application would be presented again to council in mid-January 2013 for a decision on preliminary approval.
If it receives first and second reading, Harvie explained, the application would then be "frozen" in Delta, while it's sent to Metro Vancouver to see if the regional district is amenable to changing the property's boundaries to allow 20 per cent for development.
Mayor Lois Jackson noted the application is still early in the process and more information must be gathered.
* Delta is hosting a public information meeting on the current Southlands application at the South Delta Recreation Centre on Thursday, Oct. 25.
Staff will provide an overview of the application at 4: 30 p.m. and again at 7: 30 p.m. Between 3 and 8: 30 p.m., staff will be available to answer questions
For more information about the meeting, check Delta's website at www. corp.delta.bc.ca.
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