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Editorial: Read the report and get the facts before the OCP public hearing for Ladner Village

Successive councils have been trying to revitalize Ladner Village for more than 40 years
ladner village revitalization
The City of Delta will hold a public hearing on Dec. 14 to consider bylaw amendments for the Official Community Plan for Ladner Village.

There has been much heated debate and discussion on social media about a public hearing on Dec. 14 for the Ladner Village Renewal Plan.

A lot of the online comments and correspondence received by our newsroom, has centred around a recent proposal on Bridge and Elliott streets. It’s a proposal that has not been considered by council and in fact, has not even gone out to the community for public consultation yet. All that has been done is a council workshop to allow the applicant and staff to receive preliminary feedback from council. This proposal is not a part of the public hearing on Dec. 14 and likely won’t come to a public hearing, if the proposal even gets to that stage, until well into next year.

Let us be clear: the Dec. 14 public hearing is for residents to comment on proposed changes for the Official Community Plan for Ladner Village.

The changes, if approved, would see new design guidelines and allow for more density, including possible higher buildings up to six storeys in certain parts of the Village.

If approved, only a couple of sites in the Village have been designated for up to six storeys and these applications, if they come to the City of Delta, would be vetted and move through a full public process. Council still retains the ability to approve or reject any individual projects.

The renewal plan will not result in the demolition of existing heritage buildings, another point of misinformation circulating in the community. In fact, the Ladner Village Renewal Plan committee has proposed radically enhanced heritage protection for existing buildings.

Speaking of the committee, there has also been suggestions that the plan brought forward to council is simply a money grab and is all about lining the pockets of real estate agents and developers.

The committee was formed in early 2019 and was made up of councillors Bruce McDonald and Dylan Kruger along with nine residents – all long-time Ladner residents who were appointed by council following a public process. None are developers, they are all business professionals, many from the Ladner Business Association (LBA).

The committee spent a year studying the Village and met with a number of experts, including land economists, architects, developers, and planners for background information. The committee also toured other waterfront village areas, including Steveston, White Rock, New Westminster, and Fort Langley. So to suggest, which some people have, that the committee did not do their “homework” is preposterous.

In early 2020, the committee released a report, which we have reported on extensively, with a series of recommendations to help revitalize the Village.

This version of the plan has been in the works for more than three years. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on consulting fees. There has been three rounds of public consultation and the plan has more than 90 per cent support of the LBA and the full support of the Delta Chamber of Commerce. Local businesses know that their long-term survival is dependent on this plan’s success.

Successive councils have been trying to revitalize Ladner Village for more than 40 years.

It’s time that the community gives this council an opportunity to do so.