Like is so often the case when you get into a war of words, the truth in the battle between Delta and a citizens' group opposed to Southlands development lies somewhere in the middle.
If you haven't been paying attention, the Corporation of Delta and Southlands the Facts have been in a spat over comments the advocacy group has made in relation to Delta's ability to control farming uses on the Southlands. Southlands the Facts has stated that Delta has the power to prevent greenhouses from being built on the controversial piece of Tsawwassen real estate, a contention those over at municipal hall say is simply not accurate.
It's a black-and-white statement, so it should be easy enough to determine who is telling the truth and who is stretching it. It should be, but in this case it's not.
It appears that Southlands the Facts is on firm ground in stating that Delta has the legal right to pass nuisance bylaws that would restrict intensive farming practices such as greenhouses. There's nothing preventing civic politicians from approving such legislation, so in the strictest sense of the word, the group is correct.
However, and this is where the disagreement originates, there's a distinct difference between adopting a bylaw and it holding up to the inevitable court challenge.
Delta has received legal opinions that suggest any efforts to restrict greenhouses on the Southlands could result in a lengthy and costly court battle, one that could conclude with a substantial damage award against the municipality.
So while Delta has the ability to restrict greenhouses, it would be, in the words of one high-ranking bureaucrat, "bad policy and bad law."
There's no doubt the perception the interest group's statements have created in the wider community has annoyed those over at municipal hall, however it's hard to argue they're incorrect. Yes, there should probably be a qualifier, a little asterisk denoting that lawyers believe Delta's powers might not withstand a legal challenge, but I think I'm pretty safe in saying it's not the first time, nor will it be the last, that a political brochure presents just one side of an argument.
Delta is well within its rights to put forward its position when it comes to civic control of greenhouses on the Southlands, which it has already done, but I'm not so sure picking a fight with constituents over the semantics of a political statement is doing municipal hall much good.
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