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Back Politics Politics City Beat Delta Mayor and Council Take Beating TAP Hearing

Delta Mayor and Council Take Beating TAP Hearing

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Tsawwassen - The much anticipated Tsawwassen Area Plan (TAP) public hearing began last night at the South Delta Recreation center. Hundred gathered to voice there opinions on the proposed area plan that has been over two years in the making. Throughout the process, the Southlands residential development plan had dominated the area plan. After numerous failed attempts to gauge public opinion on the matter, staff conducted an Ipsos Reid survey. The results showed that two-thirds of Tsawwassen residents opposed any development of the old Spetifore farmlands. It was this survey along with a vocal opposition by concerned citizens that predicated city staff to revise the TAP recommending that the Southlands retain its agricultural zoning.

Even with this recommendation many came out to see what would take place at the hearings. Dana Maslovat, one of the founders of Southlands the Facts thinks the plan is only the first step in protecting the land. "I think now that the Southlands is going to retain its agricultural designation council should make an application to the Agricultural Land Commission to have it returned to the Agricultural Land Reserve and settle this divisive issue once and for all."


Maslovat was the third person to address council on the proposed plan. and it was clear his sentiments were shared by the crowd.

Although a number of speakers addressed council and staff with their objections to the development of the Southlands, the majority in attendance were also very much opposed to practically every aspect of the TAP. Citizen after citizen took to the podium to announce their displeasure of the policies, and of the Mayor and council who sat there and nodded as they were drubbed over and over again with displeased constituents.

As Mayor Jackson and council listened to the citizens who spoke last night, it became apparent that public opinion is not reflected in the new TAP with respect to densification proposed for the surrounding area of the town center. The gorwth projections were challenged by the majority in attendance.

The theme of the evening became the obvious lack of community input when deciding where the proposed growth would be located. A large delegations from Camaro Drive and the Hylands owned the podium for the majority of the night, asking why council would consider a plan that would rezone their communities and force them to sell to developers. One gentleman talked about all the additions he had done to his home with permits purchased from the city, "Now I will have to leave my home and walk away from all the money I have invested." After a round of applause he added,"My land will only be worth lot value to a developer My home will be worthless."

It would appear the initial assumption that Tsawwassen requires new zoning options to allow for significant growth is not shared by the residents. It is obvious that the many citizens that attended the public meeting do not see large growth as necessary or wanted.

The last time the Tsawwassen Area Plan was put to the public it resulted in the longest public hearing in the history of the British Commonwealth. That was over 20-years ago when the Southlands was slated for development. From all accounts of people who had been in attendance two decades ago, this hearing was far more civilized.

The only conflict of the night was when former councilor and Hyland resident, Wendy Jeske filibustered well over her allotted 5-minutes (close to 15-minutes) while local activist Carol Vignale jumped up and down wildly in the back of the room screaming, "Boo, Boo," and going on to shout,"this is not democracy!" before storming out of the building in disgust. Jeske's impassioned, and extended, plea was well received by the audience and the Mayor herself didn't interrupt.

By the end of the evening close to 40 people had spoken with many more to be heard tonight.

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