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Even more uses allowed at Delta's Boundary Bay Airport lands

The lands are currently leased by Alpha Aviation from the City of Delta
Alpha Aviation, which runs the airport and subleases the surrounding lands, wants to attract more commercial and industrial tenants. Sandor Gyarmati photo

Delta council recently approved expanded uses for the Boundary Bay Airport lands.

The Official Community Plan amendment expands the area of non-aviation specific uses allowed to include a seven-acre (2.5 hectare) property on Churchill Street, changing the designation from Transportation Terminal to Industrial.

The city-owned Boundary Bay Airport comprises more than 1,000 acres (almost 430 hectares) southeast of the 72nd and Churchill streets intersection, immediately north of Boundary Bay.

Approximately 484 acres (196 hectares) of the airport and the lands are leased to Alpha Aviation until 2099, including about 190 acres (77 hectares) that over the past decade have already been redesignated for industrial and warehouse purposes.

Alpha Aviation subleases to various businesses, primarily on the lands adjacent to Churchill Street.

A Delta staff report notes there are interests to expand permitted aviation and non-aviation uses to attract a variety of commercial and industrial tenants, including, but not limited to manufacturing, technology, warehousing and logistics. Other permitted uses would include restaurants, cold storage facilities, film production studios, among others.

The report also notes that the Churchill Street site is currently vacant as there is limited interest to lease it for aviation-related uses only.

“Staff are supportive of opening up the subject area for broader industrial and business park uses since it would provide much-needed industrial spaces, provide additional jobs in Delta and add value to the city’s tax base and airport revenue, providing funding to help complete airport improvement projects, and support other expansion projects that are currently underway,” the report notes. “The subject area is not adjacent to the airport apron and would not impact operations at the Boundary Bay Airport. The proposed Ottawa Street extension is designed to facilitate a boundary between airside and non-airside lands.”

The airport was originally re-activated in 1983, but it wasn’t until 1997 that the city purchased the airport from Transport Canada for $10. At that time, it already had an operator, the Boundary Bay Airport Corporation.

The relationship between Delta and that company soured to the point where the municipality tried to terminate the lease, citing the company’s failure to pay property taxes.

Alpha Aviation would eventually take over and its relationship with Delta has been much rosier to the point it received a lease extension until 2099.

In 2011, Delta agreed to a request by Alpha Aviation to lease lands, which don’t have direct access to the airport apron or runways for a wider range of users including warehousing, wholesaling and distribution, as well as business park office uses. The first non-aviation business to set up shop there was BC Fresh.