Tsawwassen Area Plan Struck Down

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Tsawwassen Area Plan Meeting

After two years of Tsawwassen Area Plan Committee meetings, untold hours of Delta planning and staff time, contentious public meetings, consultations, and costly surveys, Delta Council has decided to turn down the proposed Tsawwassen Area Plan.

The public hearing for the proposed area plan took place on Oct 26 and 27 between 7 and 10 PM at the South Delta Rec Center. Each speaker was allowed 5 minutes to speak to the Area Plan and an additional 2-minutes of rebuttal time after everyone had been heard. An overwhelming majority of the speakers spoke against the adoption of the plan.  The Southlands retaining its agriculture designation was the only part of the plan that received endorsement, although many people requested that the council lobby the provincial government to return the land to the Agricultural Land Reserve.

With development of the Southlands off the chopping block, it became pretty obvious that Mayor Jackson and her council had grossly miscalculated the effect this plan would have on the community. It was the appearance of a vastly extended area of apartments, condos and town homes that proved to be the catalyst of an all-out citizens revolt. This rezoning of established single family neighbourhoods would have affected 600 single family homes. To those in attendance, Mayor Jackson's error became apparent as speaker after speaker took the podium to vocalize their outrage of the plan and their contempt for the council that tried to impose it without public consultation. The new plan would have also allowed for multi-family homes to built along the BC Hydro right of way and there was outrage that this was even considered, let alone be included in the new Tsawwassen Area Plan.

Residents affected by the large increase of multi family were united in their disapproval and their emotional testimonies included tears, pleas, outrage and shock by many that the first they had been informed of the designation changes were when they received the brochure from Delta showing the proposed area plan.

Other issues raised were the exclusion of the Tsawwassen Golf and Country Club from the area plan as well as the lack of inclusion of plans for rapid and large development on the Tsawwassen First Nation lands and how those plans would effect Tsawwassen.

Additionally, there were questions raised about why there had been no discussion or information regarding Tsawwassen's role in the Metro Vancouver Watershed program and a number of speakers called for the resignations of city planning staff for creating this plan. Another day of hearings had to be scheduled as many people had yet to be heard by the end of day two. With Mayor Jackson not in attendance due to failing health, Councilor Robert Campbell put forth amotion to extend the hearings for another day.

It was at this newly scheduled meeting that the bomb was dropped, as Mayor Lois Jackson showed up and brought an end to the meeting. After thanking Delta staff and Councillor Bruce McDonald for all their time and effort, she announced that Delta had decided to withdraw the plan after hearing the overwhelming opposition from residents at the public hearing. She also announced that there will be a review of the process that took place.

The entire public hearing, including Thursday's stunning announcement, can be viewed on Delta Cable, a community access channel.