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Seniors housing complex adjacent to Burns Bog is still in the works

Earth King proposal includes more than 250 units in retirement village

A plan to develop a farm property at the edge of rural East Delta into a housing complex for seniors has moved a step closer to reality.

Delta's community planning advisory committee offered tentative support when it discussed an official community plan amendment application by Earth King Investments to build on two parcels at 10555-64th Ave.

The proposal includes 45 semi-detached, rancherstyle homes, 100 apartment units for independent seniors in a five-and a six-storey building, 94 supportive living units and 27 assisted living units, also in a five-and a six-storey building.

Also part of the retire-ment village concept is a two-storey long-term care facility with 165 beds, a building that would house a health and wellness centre and a drive-through restaurant that could be a Tim Hortons.

The proposal includes 274 parking spaces, pedestrian paths and landscaping.

Comprising six hectares (15 acres), the site is zoned agricultural but was pulled out of the Agricultural Land Reserve about 20 years ago. It's surrounded by a golf course across the street, farm properties in the ALR as well as Burns Bog.

Although the advisory committee expressed some concerns about public transit and the seemingly isolated location, it generally supported the project's layout. It suggested more community gardens be incorporated as part of the plan.

Saying other civic committees will need to see details before something is presented to Delta council, Coun. Anne Peterson, a member of the advisory committee, told the Optimist the proposal has "a ways to go."

She said that while it would address a need for seniors housing, and sites large enough for such projects are difficult to find, the location is a topic that requires further discussion.

Community planning director Tom Leathem noted Metro Vancouver approval would also be required and the municipality is still waiting for clarification on the region's new Livable Region Strategic Plan, which appears to be getting close to final approval.

The proposal, which was presented at an open house in North Delta a few weeks ago, continues to meet with opposition from the Burns Bog Conservation Society as well as some residents in nearby North Delta.

Commenting on the committee's tentative endorsement, society president Eliza Olson said the group did not listen to the people or find out the best practices for a seniors community.

A memo by Leathem summarizing a council workshop on the proposal last summer noted council members had a number of concerns, including the site being somewhat isolated and its proximity to the bog.

In an interview prior to that workshop, Bobby Pawar, owner and president of Earth King Investments, said the type of seniors housing is sorely lacking in the municipality.

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