Conditions in Tsawwassen don’t support walkable community

Editor:

The most recent redevelopment proposal for the Town Centre Mall is being sold as a “walkable community,” and as described by Mike Schneider, these communities have many benefits, including “prosperity,” “less emissions from vehicles” and more.

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These are all laudable goals. In many cities these communities thrive. However, the conditions that support these communities are sufficiently different from Delta. The communities are integrated within urban centres. These urban centres supply these communities with an employment market supported by mass transit. People can go to work without a vehicle.

It is true that a viable commercial core could enhance local business. Certainly, more customers would be a benefit. Strangely the latest proposal cuts the commercial space by about 10 per cent. Is this indicative of a lack of faith in that “green, thriving” downtown core or a lack of tenant interest?

What worries me is the planning department and Delta council are closing their eyes to three main detracting factors that make a lie of the positive aspects of the development proposal:

- Tsawwassen lacks jobs that can support mortgage/rental costs of these units. At least one resident of each unit may need to travel beyond Tsawwassen for work daily.

- Our rural location will mean mass transit will continue to be a problem.

- 56th Street is the only effective means out of Tsawwassen for this and the Southlands developments. These add a possible 1,650 additional cars to traffic during rush hours: More than 800 per hour over each two-hour period.

This proposal only creates a bedroom community with serious traffic problems and more vehicle emissions. This is growth at any cost, it is not progress and cannot be considered the greening of a community.

Ted Murphy’s column states that Sean Hodgins will “need to work with the public” to “satisfy the majority.” This paper suggested Century has been working with the planning department. If that is the case, how did the proposal go from 500 units to 700 and multiple high-rise towers? How does this reflect public input?

Mayor George Harvie appears to be taking the pressure off this proposal in a Trump move to vote against the brewery. People are upset enough that no one has noticed the mall proposal is now totally over the top. And he can easily change his mind and let his council re-consider the brewery.

Talk to your council and planning department. Tell them to stop this proposal until traffic infrastructure needed by this proposal has been dealt with.

Peter van der Velden

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© Delta Optimist

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