Burns Bog’s protected wetlands is set to increase its area by 20 per cent, or more than 400 additional hectares, according to a municipal report.
Delta will expand the Burns Bog Ecological Conservancy Area to 2,428 ha (6,000 acres) from its present 2,023 ha (5,000 acres) size, with the addition of eight parcels of land of varying size.
The current protected bog area was purchased in 2004 by four levels of government and is protected by Delta and Metro Vancouver under a conservation covenant.
Council has previously directed staff, in 2005 and 2010, to identify Delta-owned parcels that have bog ecological attributes and and include them into the conservancy.
The proposed addition would absorb the 66-ha Delta Nature Reserve. It is located in the northeast side of the bog by Nordel Way and Highway 91 and is the only part that is accessible to the public.
As well, roughly 325 ha of adjacent lands, mainly former Vancouver landfill parcels along the South Fraser Perimeter Road, and 40 ha of boundary parcels would be added.
Two small parcels located by River Road and currently home to the Delta Community Animal Shelter would also become part of Burns Bog. Metro Vancouver has expressed interest in retaining the building infrastructure for Burns Bog operations once the animal shelter is relocated.
Although warm to the idea in general, Coun. Ian Paton expressed concern over the 100-ha southern parcel, an L-shaped piece of land sandwiched between rural properties, saying it encroaches on potentially productive lands.
The parcel is sandwiched between Pineland Peat and Soils Ltd. to the east, which is zoned commercial-industrial, and the Vancouver landfill to the west, raising concerns from The Delta Farmers’ Institute, of which Paton is a member.
“There’s a hard boundary of the bog at the south end, but there’s now also this L-shaped piece that juts down that really sticks out like a sore thumb,” he said in a followup interview.
“The reason we’re a bit opposed to that particular piece is that kind of land is primo for growing blueberries or cranberries. So, what we’re saying is if it gets put into the bog conservation area then it can never be used for agriculture.”
Paton suggested leasing the land to farmers in order to add to the agricultural tax base. He cited the example of the northwest corner of Burns Bog where there are productive cranberry fields.
Coun. Scott Hamilton asked staff whether the additional lands under a new covenant agreement would create access restrictions within the Delta Nature Reserve. Staff responded that such details would need to be worked out in the new agreement with Metro Vancouver.
Delta staff will now begin the legal framework with Metro Vancouver before the parcels are officially added to the conservancy area.