Let me preface this rant by saying I am both a supporter of the Agricultural Land Reserve and the preservation of Burns Bog. However, the steam is still
escaping from my ears after attending an information meeting in North Delta last Tuesday evening about a proposed seniors housing development by a private developer on 15 acres at 64th Avenue and Highway 91. The land lies between Burns Bog and a golf course.
Not only were there some Burns Bog people there, but also the ALR people from Tsawwassen.
I am a senior living in Ladner and I sit on the Delta Seniors Housing Action Team as a volunteer. After months of work, we present our findings to Delta council this week. One of our most dramatic findings was a serious lack of housing for seniors in North Delta.
After a civic planner introduced the panel of presenters and the presentations were made, questions began. Most of the early questions came from these two vociferous groups who, despite clear and definitive responses from the panel of professionals, refused to accept their answers and even challenged them on their credentials.
It was very embarrassing, especially since a) the land is not even in the ALR and b) the development will not affect Burns Bog in any way.
In fact, water flows south from Burns Bog into the development, not the other way around. All the other environmental concerns are covered by government bylaws and building codes.
Still these players persisted in beating their same old drums by demanding hydrology reports or the need to grow more blueberries and cranberries.
I was appalled to witness such disrespect toward the panel and all the seniors sitting in the room who simply came to find out about this project, which by the way, would be a fabulous addition to any community, and one that North Delta desperately needs and would be lucky to get.
It encompasses all three levels: independent living, assisted living and complex care, which allow seniors to age-in-place. It will offer both publicly funded and private-pay care so everyone, no matter their income level, would be eligible to live there for the rest of their lives.
Many seniors will need different levels of housing as they age, from downsizing to smaller homes to perhaps needing specific care as physical and mental abilities change both for themselves or their partners.
Staying together and in the community they are familiar with, where family and friends are, is vital. This model is called a "campus of care," which our governments are moving toward to provide better housing for both healthy and frail seniors.
In closing, I want to encourage Delta council to be strong and not acquiesce to bullying from these special interest groups. Surely the future of Delta's seniors is more important than another 15 acres of blueberries.