Skip to content

Delta throwback: Hoping to 'escape the Roberts Bank clutches'

Some questioned whether there would be any farming in Delta in the future
Allan Bates stands outside his 34B Street barn to be removed for a railway right-of-way. He had been given a nine-day notice to empty the structure. Exportation for the new superport had occurred for all of his 100 acres, but he was told he would be able to farm 80 acres ‘for some time.’

Let’s head back to February of 1969 when Mayor Dugald Morrison had some good news to offer Delta farmers, saying he applauded the provincial government’s decision not to expropriate any more farmland for the Roberts Bank superport development.

“Premier Bennett has said there will be no further expropriation,” he said. “If this is government policy, it is a big step forward.”

Morrison said farmers will be able to sell their land at market value in the future.

“Up to now, farmers hadn’t had a chance to negotiate,” he added.

Expropriation notices were sent to 37 Delta property owners in a proposed mile-wide industrial and service corridor along the Roberts Bank rail route, affecting roughly 2,000 acres.

The land was to serve the new port including industrial back up lands.

Also expropriated was just under 2,000 acres paralleling the Delta foreshore.

An editorial in the Delta Optimist at the time read, “Will farmland in Delta be non-existent in 10 years? There are approximately 25,000 acres of agricultural land in Delta. Of the 25,000 acres, 4,000 acres have been expropriated by BC Hydro for Roberts Bank development. It has been estimated that another 20,000 acres will be needed in the future for the port. That leaves 1,000 acres of farmland which might or might not escape the Roberts Bank clutches. Total acreage in all of Delta is 44,700 acres.”