Delta council recently voted in favour of allowing the temporary storage of thousands of shipping containers on a vacant property on River Road.
The application was for a temporary use permit, which would allow an outside shipping container storage yard on the north portion of a property at 9250 River Road, as well as a couple of unaddressed parcels, for a period of three years.
The owner is proposing to have 780 TEUs (20-foot-equivelent units) at ground level for storage, plus 60 TEU slots at ground level for pre-trip storage and washing.
At full capacity, up to 4,160 TEUs would be stored on the site.
The containers would be visible from River Road and Highway 17.
The outside storage of shipping containers is not permitted as a principle use in Delta’s industrial zones, but the marine terminal zone and properties within 800 metres of a controlled access highway are exempt.
Shipping containers are permitted as an accessory use to other warehousing, distribution or transportation-related uses.
Rezoning of land to a site specific zone to permit the outside storage of shipping containers may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
A report to council notes the properties on River Road were formerly used as a landfill, called Meadowland Peat Landfill, and are bisected by a railway that effectively creates two sites.
This 10-plus acre site was recently used for outside steel storage, but is now vacant and undergoing improvements to expand the net useable area.
The report notes a soil deposit permit application has been submitted for those improvements and the owner, who also owns the Ocean Trailer site at River Road, has indicated that they ultimately plan to develop the site to a higher and better use, but as a former landfill site, it requires more time to settle before it is practical to develop.
The report also notes the owner has identified a market demand for outside shipping container storage from the announcement that Delco Container Limited Partnership at 7664 80th Street would be closing their container storage business.
The owner estimates that Delco represented approximately 25 percent of the container storage and repair capacity in the Lower Mainland and over 50 percent of the capacity in Delta.
In their view, this reduction in container storage capacity would impact warehouse and distribution businesses in Delta and further exacerbate congestion at river crossing points in the region, the report states.
An owner from one of the adjacent industrial conveyed opposition and a number of concerns, including the shortage of land available for industrial development and that more container storage on River Road would exacerbate existing traffic problems.
The city attached a number of conditions to the temporary use permit including the site having no more that 4,160 units at any one time and stacked no greater than six containers high, as well as a fire hydrant being installed at the frontage of the property.