An application to build a cold storage and food processing facility on farm site adjacent to Burns Bog in Delta has inched a step closer to reality.
Council at its May 30 meeting gave preliminary approval for the Delta Fresh application to develop the two properties adjacent to the Highway 91 interchange at 104 Street into a major industrial use.
Comprising six hectares (15 acres), the site is zoned agricultural, but was pulled out of the Agricultural Land Reserve decades ago.
Although not in the ALR, the Official Community Plan designation for the site is intended for general and intensive agricultural uses.
Considering the unique nature of the proposal, a new Agriculture Product Management Zone has been established and is to be applied to the subject properties, according to planning staff.
The site is surrounded by farm properties in the ALR as well as Burns Bog, with a golf course across the street.
The cold storage warehouse and processing facility would be for fruits, vegetables and dairy products.
A staff report states that in their description of the business model for the proposed facility, the owner notes a strong local demand for such a facility, particularly with the challenges to supply chains during the most restrictive phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Large-scale cold-storage facilities are located mainly in the Fraser Valley or Washington State.
The proposed location in Delta would provide easy access to local and regional producers, local grocery chains and online shippers, thus mitigating challenges to the current supply chain.
The proposed development would have two buildings with a combined floor area of 311,856-square-feet.
The buildings would be separated by a shared parking area, septic field and constructed wetland situated within a utility right-of-way.
Prior to a public hearing, a lengthy list of conditions is required to be met, including a review of the proposal by the Metro Vancouver Burns Bog Scientific Advisory Panel.
Prior to final approval, the owner would also be required to provide more detailed monitoring plans for bog water levels, water quality and other possible impacts to the sensitive bog environment.
The staff report goes on to note that the owner's consultant has identified small areas of the site which may be contaminated.
Further to the BC Contaminated Sites Regulation, the property owner is conducting a detailed site investigation to determine remediation requirements for the areas and a remediation plan will be submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.
The Delta Chamber of Commerce wrote to Delta council conveying support for the project, noting farmers and food service providers throughout B.C. have expressed increasing frustration at the lack of local food storage and processing options currently available regionally.