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Large amount of fill approved for East Ladner greenhouse plan

The structural fill will be placed to a maximum elevation of three feet
A fill monitoring and reporting plan will be required to be submitted with an application to the city for the soil deposit. City of Delta report

The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) has approved an application to place 2,931,824-square-feet (83,020-square-metres) of structural fill at a site in East Ladner to facilitate a future greenhouse complex.

A recent Delta staff report to council notes that the fill would be placed within an 11-hectare (27-acre) area at the property, located within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), at 4626 88 St.

The property previously was home to Wellbrook Winery.

The project would take place over two years for future construction of two greenhouses and a warehouse for grading and packing of agricultural products.

The fill placement must be completed in accordance with a stormwater management plan previously submitted to Delta, while an erosion and sediment control plan is also required.

The project would also need to coordinate with other major infrastructure projects in the area, the report notes.

Council earlier this year endorsed the structural fill application by Sunnyside Produce Ltd. to the ALC.

The proposed fill is in excess of the ALC’s maximum area for fill placement for farm buildings, so land commission approval was required.

While the owner will also need to meet several conditions by the city, council’s approval to build the greenhouse structure itself would not be required.

A previous report to council notes that to address drainage concerns resulting from the greenhouse construction and subsequent increase in impervious surfaces, the owner is also proposing to build new detention ponds on the property.

The report also states that the proposal has been reviewed by the Ministry of Agriculture, which said a large quantity of fill placement on a single property is often problematic as it can displace standing water and often results in increased flooding on adjacent properties.

The ministry further stated that an agrologist report should be submitted, answering why the large amount of fill is required and how it would affect neighbouring properties. The owner subsequently provided a report, prepared by a professional agrologist, and a stormwater management plan, prepared by a professional engineer, outlining the need for the fill on the site and how drainage would be managed.

The ALC in its decision noted the property is higher in elevation than the parcel to the east and that the City of Delta received correspondence from neighbours who have concerns that the addition of fill could cause additional flooding to adjacent parcels.

The panel reviewed the stormwater management plan, finding it addresses the increased imperviousness and that steps have been taken to mitigate the peak runoff through the installation and siting of the detention ponds.