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Big crowd expected for hearing

Century Group's Southlands proposal to go before the public beginning Monday at South Delta Recreation Centre
It will likely be standing room only again next week when the South Delta Recreation Centre plays host to the public hearing on the Century Group’s development proposal for the Southlands.

A large crowd is expected at next week's public hearing as a development proposal for the Southlands takes centre stage.

Three days have been scheduled, starting Monday, at the South Delta Recreation Centre to allow people to provide input on Century Group's plan for the Tsawwassen site bordered by 56th Street and Boundary Bay Road.

Most residents who have lived in Delta long enough are aware of the property's controversial history, including a record-breaking public hearing almost a quarter-century ago. This time around supporters and opponents are once again expected to clash, although not to the extent of 1989.

Following the concepts of new urbanism and agricultural urbanism, the Century application includes 950 residential units in various forms and densities on 20 per cent of the site, housing stock that's aimed at young families and downsizers.

The proposal also has over 7,400 square metres (80,000 square feet) of commercial space. Century Group is also proposing to construct a connector road through the property, which would extend from 3rd Avenue and Boundary Bay Road to 4th Avenue and 56th Street.

Having owned the property for over 20 years, the company proposes to transfer 172 hectares (425 acres) to Delta, amounting to 80 per cent of the site. That would be used for agriculture, natural habitat, public open space, including a Market Square, and greenways. In addition to the land, Century is proposing to transfer ownership of the Alexander/Gunn House and the Red Barn to Delta.

Both buildings are in the proposed Market Square area.

Century Group also proposes to provide $9 million to improve agricultural drainage and irrigation as well as lease back approximately 18.7 hectares (46 acres) from Delta for smallscale farming. The remainder of the agricultural land that would be transferred to Delta would be leased for larger-scale, soil-based farming.

"Southlands gives Tsawwassen an opportunity to shape the future of our community. With your support, it will be the first project of its kind in Canada, and would add lasting value to all of Delta," according to the Century Group.

Asking people to show their support, a company promotional website also notes, "Many people in our community, and in the region, are looking to Southlands to provide a

Canadian model for sustainable neighbourhood development."

Unlike previous development proposals for the site by others, Century Group has significant support in the community for its plan, however sizable opposition still remains.

Concerned about development impacts, including traffic, Boundary Bay resident Amanda Kemp started an online petition at delta-residents-stop-thesouthland-s-development. Complaining about the early sign-up and start times of the hearing, Southlands the Facts is urging residents to show up and voice their opposition to the proposal.

The group is also angered that anyone who provided correspondence before July 30, and wishes it to be included in the public hearing record, must resubmit it prior to the conclusion of the hearing. "Not only is your presence essential, but also it is also crucial that you send your written opposition to Mayor and Council. You see, Mayor Jackson has decided that 'Revisionist History' is the best way to govern in Delta," states Dana Maslovat on the Southlands the Facts website.

CAO George Harvie told the Optimist councillors, in fact, would consider all information received on the application, including correspondence prior to July 30.

A speakers' list will be available to sign up at the entrance of the venue one hour prior to the hearing.

The hearing is scheduled to take place Monday to Wednesday of next week. It will run from 3 to 9:30 p.m. daily, with a 45-minute break at 6 p.m.

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