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Large quantity of fill being placed for future East Ladner greenhouse

To address drainage concerns resulting from greenhouse construction and a subsequent increase in impervious surfaces, the owner plans to also build a new detention pond
The project will take place over two years to add the greenhouses as well as a warehouse for grading and packing agricultural products. Sandor Gyarmati photo

Motorists on Ladner Trunk Road heading past what was once the Wellbrook Winery can see a big construction project now taking place with a huge quantity of structural fill being placed on the farmland site.

The project will see a future greenhouse complex approximately 11 hectares (27 acres) in size on the northern half of the agriculturally zoned East Ladner property at 4626-88 St.

The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) last year approved an application by the current owner, Sunnyside Produce Ltd., to place 83,020-cubic-metres of fill on the site to facilitate the future complex.

A new detention pond with a storage capacity of approximately 13,000-cubic-metres will also be built.

The proposed fill was in excess of the ALC’s maximum area for fill placement for farm buildings, so the commission’s approval was required.

To prepare the site for future greenhouse development, the owner proposed placing fill in order to raise the site to a maximum ground elevation of three feet, to match the approximate elevations of the remainder southern portion of the property.

Council last year approved sending the application to the ALC but also attached conditions by the city. A report noted the city received correspondence from several households expressing concerns about the large amount of fill proposed and that it may result in flooding on adjacent agricultural lots. To address those concerns, the owner provided an agrologist report and a stormwater management plan.

Greenhouses are permitted in the site’s zoning and within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) as a farm use, subject to meeting site coverage and setback requirements.