It’s been a few years since one was built, but now a large-scale greenhouse is being planned for Delta.
Council last week endorsed an application by Sunnyside Produce Ltd. sent to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) for a soil fill permit at 4626-88 St. in order to create structural fill for a new greenhouse.
The 22.5 hectare (56 acre) property previously contained the Wellbrook Winery.
The current owner, Sunnyside Produce Ltd., is a local greenhouse operator with greenhouses elsewhere in the region.
The area where the fill is to be placed is approximately 11 hectares (27 acres) in size on the northern half of the agriculturally-zoned property.
The owner is proposing to place 83,020-cubic metres for structural fill, to a maximum elevation of three feet.
Once the fill has been placed and compacted down, the preload would be removed resulting in 68,541-cubic-metres of structural fill permanently remaining on the property.
The proposed fill is in excess of the ALC's maximum area for fill placement for farm buildings, so ALC approval is required.
The existing zone for the site would permit a greenhouse under the definition of farming. If ALC approval for the fill is granted, the owner would still need to meet a number of conditions by the city, but would not need council’s approval to build the greenhouse structure itself.
Noting the proposed greenhouse would be in a “highly visible” location, Coun. Alicia Guichon said she wants the city to keep a close eye on potential drainage impacts to neighbouring properties.
A report to council notes that to address drainage concerns resulting from the greenhouse construction and subsequent increase in impervious surfaces, the owner is also proposing to build a new detention pond with a storage capacity of approximately 13,000-cubic-metres on the property.
The report also states that the proposal has been reviewed by the Ministry of Agriculture, which said a large quantity of fill placement on a single property is often problematic as it can displace standing water and often results in increased flooding on adjacent properties.
The ministry further stated that an agrologist report should be submitted, answering why the large amount of fill is required and how it would affect neighbouring properties. The owner has since provided an agrologist report, prepared by a professional agrologist, and a stormwater management plan, prepared by a professional engineer, outlining the need for fill on the site and how drainage would be managed.