Delta industrial project next to Burns Bog gets Metro Van approval

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Metro Vancouver’s board of directors has given its stamp of approval for an industrial project on the edge of Burns Bog in Delta that has been in the works for almost five years.

“I’m ecstatic about it,” said Delta Mayor George Harvie.

The application involves a proposed industrial subdivision on a 63-hectare site on the Highway 91 connector, between Nordel Way and the intersection with Highway 17, in the northeast corner of Burns Bog Ecological Conservancy Area. The site, along with three other parcels, is owned by MK Delta Lands Group.

Metro Vancouver approved amendments to the regional growth strategy — including the urban containment boundary — an update to Delta’s regional context statement, and a sanitary sewer extension to the industrial parcel, which were necessary for the project to proceed to fourth reading at the City of Delta.

The Agricultural Land Commission has given conditional approval for the proposed industrial parcel to be excluded from the agricultural land reserve, and for a second 70-hectare lot to be added in its place.

Harvie said the project has gone through “some really tough tests,” including the land commission and a scientific advisory council, and has a number of benefits for Delta, including jobs and a bump to the city’s tax base.

If the project is approved, the developer will transfer three parcels totalling 133 hectares of land — including the one that will be added to the agricultural land reserve — to the City of Delta for protection from future development and inclusion in the bog conservancy area.

“The only way you can protect the bog is by owning it,” said Harvie.

MK Delta Lands will also contribute $6 million to agricultural drainage and irrigation improvements and $5 million for transportation improvements and community amenities.

“My vision was always to do an educational centre at an appropriate location,” said Harvie, “because the only thing we have at Burns Bog now is keep-out signs.”

He also hopes to work with the Burns Bog Conservation Society on relocating the nature reserve and improving the trail system.

At the board meeting, Richmond Coun. Harold Steves said his council opposed Delta’s plans, and said approving the project and land exchange opens up a Pandora’s box when it comes to future applications to develop near the bog.

“The more you encroach upon it, the less opportunity there is for the bog to survive,” Steves said. “The future is bleak if this goes ahead.”

Steves was the only vote against approving the changes.

The city still needs to give an official community plan amendment bylaw for the project fourth reading after the developer finalizes the proposal. Harvie expects it will be done as soon as possible — within the next four to six weeks.

The Burns Bog Conservation Society has opposed the project in the past, however a spokesperson could not be reached for comment this week.

jensaltman@postmedia.com

twitter.com/jensaltman





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