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Delta allowing permanent storage of thousands of shipping containers

Delta staff note there have been no complaints and they have no concerns with the proposed rezoning
Seaspan submitted a rezoning application to formally recognize the historic use of the overall Tilbury site as a marine terminal that would allow the company to operate a shipping container storage business indefinitely. Delta Optimist file

Delta council agreed to grant preliminary approval for a zoning amendment to allow the permanent outdoor storage of shipping containers alongside an existing marine trans-shipment facility.

The proposal by Seaspan Ferries Corporation Inc. for the 15.6-hectare (38.5 acre) site in the 7500-to-7700 block of Hopcott Road in Tilbury would see the ongoing storage of shipping containers alongside the owner’s existing marine trans-shipment facility.

In 2021, council issued a temporary use permit to allow the outdoor storage of up to 2,300, 40-foot- equivalent container units on a 3.8 hectare (9.4 acre) portion of the site for three years.

The owner is proposing to continue using that northern portion of the site.

A staff report notes the demand for container storage has remained high since the 2021 closure of the Delco Container Limited Partnership storage facility on 80 Street. Furthermore, the storage of shipping containers supports the Seaspan operations as part of their business to send empty containers to Vancouver Island that are returned with goods for export.

Meanwhile, the City of Delta last year issued a request for bids for a consultant to study existing shipping container storage sites operating in industrial areas, particularly on River Road.

The goal is to assess the impact of container truck traffic on roads and intersections and the outcome of this study will inform future development applications related to container storage yards.

A final report is to be submitted early this year.

Ten Delta sites are permitted to store shipping containers while several others have had temporary use permits.

In 2007, council adopted a bylaw which prohibited new outside shipping container storage as a principal use in Delta’s industrial zones, except in the Marine Terminal Industrial Zone in certain industrially zoned sites. Outside shipping container storage is permitted as an accessory use in any industrial zone provided no more than 20-twenty-foot equivalent units are stored on a lot.

A staff report noted the total number of 20 and 40-foot-equivalent units approved under current temporary use permits was 6,460, while temporary use permits under review could accommodate a further 3,575 containers.

Council last year approved temporary use applications to allow shipping container storage to continue at a pair of other properties, one in the 7900-block of Webster Road and the other in the 8600-block of River Road.