Southlands Plan Now Officially Being Considered By Delta
A proposal to amend Delta’s Official Community Plan for the Southlands property in Tsawwassen will now officially be considered after Delta Council last night approved proceeding with community and stakeholder consultation prior to drafting bylaws for consideration of first and second readings.
This decision comes after the land’s owner, Tsawwassen-based Century Group, spent the last five years working with the community in a collaborative planning process to develop the plan for a comprehensive development that will see the transfer of 80 percent of the Southlands properties, approximately 173.7 ha/429 ac, to public ownership for preservation.
Close to two-thirds of the land transferred to the municipality will be used for farming. Of the remaining lands that will be transferred to the Delta, 19.1 ha (47 ac) will be designated for public open space and greenways and a further 46.5 ha (115 ac) are identified as natural habitat area.
On the remaining 20% of the Southlands (43.4 ha/107 ac), Century Group is proposing 950 homes to be developed over a number of years to provide a range of housing choices, including a mix of townhomes, cottages, small family homes, apartment-style residences, and live-work and artisan studios.
This new neighbourhood will also include a market square that will have uses including a cafe, convenience store, artisan shops, galleries, arts and cultural activities, a farmers' market, a culinary education kitchen and a farming school.
In the City staff’s report to Council, Delta’s Chief Administrative Officer, George Harvie, pointed out that the proposed public ownership of 80 percent of the Southlands properties by the Corporation of Delta is consistent with the statement of principles developed at the Mayor's Summit held March 24 to 26, 2011 on the future of the Southlands. This Summit was convened after a divisive public hearing in which many in the community turned out to oppose Delta’s attempt to have the Southlands properties placed in the Agricultural Land Reserve.
Century Group’s President, Sean Hodgins, welcomed Delta Council’s decision to consider the Southlands plan. “This is the long-awaited logical next step in a process of collaborative community planning,” said Hodgins. “We’ve worked with citizens of Tsawwassen for five years to come up with a plan that produces multiple community benefits, including activating community-based farming while providing local housing diversity.
Now, Council will officially consider that plan, seek stakeholder input and listen to the community.” Hodgins said the timing of this decision by Council to launch the process of considering the Southlands plan is opportune for Delta citizens given that the municipal election campaign is underway.
“Delta voters will have an opportunity to talk with Council candidates during the campaign, make their opinions known and find out where the candidates stand on the issue. Good community planning is the product of informed engagement, public dialogue and collaboration.”
Hodgins said the process moving forward will eventually require consideration by the board of Metro Vancouver in amending the Regional Growth Strategy. “The Southlands plan is a regionally significant model for agricultural urbanism, demonstrating how we can best plan at the urban edge to sustain local agriculture. I look forward to Delta advancing our proposal to Metro at some point in the future so that this opportunity can be considered.”
Delta’s process for considering the Southlands application will see public information meetings held in the New Year.