Approximate location of Princess Farms Ltd

Delta alleges damage of bog in lawsuit

Princess Farms named in lawsuit over soil deposit that allegedly damaged bog

The Corporation of Delta in partnership with Metro Vancouver has launched a civil action in BC Supreme Court against Delta-based Princess Farms and its Langley contractor, alleging both damaged a large area of Burns Bog.

The local and regional governments are alleging that 17,000-square-meters (55,774-square-feet) of protected wetlands in Burns Bog were damaged by the companies through soil deposit activities.

The Corporation of Delta and Metro Vancouver, as joint owners of the 2,428-hectare Burns Bog, filed against Princess Farms Ltd., Matcon Landfill Management Inc., and Matcon Civil Constructors Inc.

Princess Farms has been preparing for a new blueberry production on a site located on the west side of 104th Street and 64th Avenue in East Ladner.

The farm had been previously approved for an application to deposit 300,000 cubic metres of mixed soil on the site to improve drainage, which Delta’s chief administrative officer George Harvie said is now over 4.6 metres (15 feet) high.

But although Delta Council rejected an application to deposit an additional 36,500 cubic metres of topsoil in late September, the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) overruled them. The lawsuit alleges damage occurred by or under the supervision of Matcon and contrary to the terms of the ALC approval, which required that the fill be carried out in accordance with a consultant’s report.

Harvie said Delta staff were conducting monitoring and scientific studies in Burns Bog several months ago when they  noticed the damage and commenced an investigation.

“We tried to get into the property but we were denied access,” he said.

Affected areas of Burns Bog include vegetation, trees, wildlife habitat and the peat bog itself, which suffered tearing, heaving and the vertical and lateral displacement of the peat bog near where fill was placed on native peat on the adjacent farm land. Run off from the fill may also affect the Bog’s chemistry, according to the municipality.

Harvie said Delta is looking into establishing a new soil conservation and protection bylaw to enhance Delta’s ability to regulate activities on farmland that would prevent such incidents in the future, as they are alleged.

Matcon Civil Constructors were not immediately available for comment.

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