Delta on Monday (Dec. 4) unanimously approved sending an application to build another 60 townhouse units at Tsawwassen Springs back to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) following a public hearing.
Following a public hearing in 2017, council granted preliminary approval for the application to build the townhouses at an undeveloped site, which is in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), but was not actively farmed.
The development plan included splitting a property on Springs Boulevard, one having the townhouses, while the other would have been consolidated with the golf course.
The lot with the new homes would be excluded from the ALR, while the other lot would have received non-farm use status, both requiring ALC approval.
The commission only approved the non-farm use application, denying the ALR exclusion.
The application has since been revised, but must still get ALC approval.
At Monday's public hearing, applicant Ron Toigo explained the revisions he said should satisfy the ALC, including an offer to place several acres of farmland in Mission, which is not in the ALR, into the farm reserve.
He also noted the revised application will also address traffic concerns including proposed speed humps on Springs Boulevard.
A Delta civic report notes an agrologist report indicated that the site is unsuitable for soil-based agricultural uses.
Under the original application the owner proposed a voluntary contribution for agricultural capital works in the amount of $500,000 to be used towards drainage and irrigation improvements. The owner has since increased that amount to $1 million. The proposal includes directing the funds to the city who would consult with the Delta Farmers’ Institute as to how to use the funds to benefit agriculture.
Several residents who reside at the development spoke at the hearing, noting they were not opposed, but had concerns, including the current development lacking indoor amenity meeting space.
During council’s discussion following the public hearing, Mayor George Harvie said he is a resident of Tsawwassen Springs and knew exactly what he was buying into when he purchased his unit, adding that while he was strata president, owners made it clear they wanted to avoid additional costs.
Prior to hearing, Harvie read a statement that he received a legal opinion which confirmed neither he, nor Coun. Dan Boisvert who also lives at the development, were in a conflict of interest in considering the application.