An application by Village Farms for a non-farm use, to allow for the construction of a bio-methane gas processing facility, recently received further council approval and will now head to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) for consideration.
The ALC will be informed that the City of Delta supports the application.
The new facility at the Pure Sunfarms cannabis greenhouse operation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Village Farms, would convert gases from the Vancouver Landfill to bio-methane for distribution to FortisBC's gas distribution network.
The product is marketed as renewable natural gas (RNG).
The proposed facility would also be used in the Village Farms greenhouse operation.
Village Farms currently owns the rights to a portion of the landfill gas collected at the landfill and uses the gas to fuel a co-generation plant at the greenhouse facility, but the company is currently decommissioning the co-generation facility that had been in operation since 2002.
The new facility would operate alongside a proposed FortisBC facility that would be located directly on the landfill.
Delta moving toward new farm plan
Delta council last week agreed with a recommendation to apply for a $40,000 grant in cost-shared funding to update Delta's Agricultural Plan.
The application will be submitted to the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC’s Local Government Partnership Program.
Applicant organizations must contribute at least 50 percent of the funding for an approved project.
The city has already issued a request for bids for a consulting service to help update the agricultural plan and that work is to commence this fall.
A report to council notes future meetings of the Agricultural Advisory Committee would be dedicated to working with the consultant to identify relevant issues and opportunities for Delta's agricultural sector, as well as providing recommendations on the draft plan update.
The city notes it wants to update the current plan to shift the focus more to the issues, recommendations and implementation actions that Delta could undertake and lead.
Tsawwassen Golf and Country Club takes ALC to court
The Tsawwassen Golf and Country Club has filed a petition against the ALC in BC Supreme Court.
The legal action is the result of the commission’s denial of an application for an Agricultural Land Reserve exclusion for a site immediately west of the Tsawwassen Spring’s housing development.
Following a public hearing four years ago, Delta council granted preliminary approval for an application by the Tsawwassen Golf & Country Club Ltd. to build another 60 townhouses, a tennis court and other amenities at the 2.55-hectare (6.3-acre) site, which is in the ALR, but has not been farmed for a lengthy time.
The land was purchased with the intent of taking most of it out of the reserve.
The development plan for the site included subdividing that property into two lots, one of which would have had the townhouses, while the other would have been consolidated with the golf course.
The lot with the new homes would be excluded from the ALR, while the other would have received non-farm use status, both requiring ALC approval.
The requests were referred to the ALC in July 2017, but in May of 2018, the commission only approved the non-farm use application, denying the ALR exclusion.
The site was owned by another individual when the original Tsawwassen Springs housing application was put forward over a decade ago, but the owner wasn't interested in selling at that time.