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Delta OKs additional fill to be deposited on East Delta farm

Goal is to make property on 104th Street suitable for blueberry farming

Delta will allow additional soil to be deposited on an East Delta farm property despite previous concerns about what's taking place at the site.

Delta council recently approved an application by Princess Farms (6145-104th St.) to deposit an additional 36,500 cubic metres of topsoil, as long as it's good quality, in order to complete a fill project approved by the Agricultural Land Commission in 2007.

The ALC had given the go ahead for the owner to deposit 300,000 cubic metres of mixed soil comprising of structural soil and topsoil. The commission was told the goal was to eventually make the site suitable for blueberry farming.

A year earlier, Delta received an application for a non-farm use of the land, that at the time had not been farmed and contained old piles of wood waste. Council approved the application with various conditions, including the owner working with Metro Vancouver to remove wood waste from an encroachment into Burns Bog north of the site.

Delta permits were issued in April 2008 and soil deposit activity has been ongoing ever since.

Council and members of the municipal agricultural advisory committee later expressed concerns about the type of fill being imported, as well as the overall nature of the filling operation.

The mayor wrote to the ALC requesting information and a workshop was held earlier this year where the commission indicated that, while there were no infarctions to report, it was reviewing the file to ensure its monitoring program was adequate.

According to estimates, approximately 240,000 cubic metres of soil of various types has been deposited so far, but the fill had reportedly settled to a greater degree than anticipated.

A recent report to council also noted that as a result, additional fill would be needed to complete the project to the desired design elevation. Council and the ALC agreed the most desirable option would be allowing the extra 36,500 cubic metres of topsoil in excess of the original 300,000 cubic metres that had been approved.

Another farm on 104th Street that's been accepting large quantities of fill has also been a concern for Delta. The ALC had issued a stop work order on that property but filling continued.

At another recent council meeting, council directed staff to drafted a new soil conservation and protection bylaw to enhance Delta's ability to regulate soil deposit and removal activities on agricultural land.