A new proposal for the 36-hectare development at Highway 91 and 72nd Avenue in North Delta will reduce the commercial component of the project by a third, while increasing the overall number of residential units.
“We heard concerns that the proposed retail development was too large,” said Joanne Barnett, president of MK Delta Lands Group, during a delegation to Delta council on Monday. “We’ve responded and we’ve revised our plans.”
The newest plan will offer 1,100 residential units in the form of 650 four-storey apartments and 450 three-storey townhouses, taking up 39 per cent of the development footprint. That’s up from the May 27, 2013 plan for 993 units of housing.
But the commercial component will now offer 130,000 square feet of commercial space (12,000 square metres) on the north side of the development, reduced from the previous 431,000 square feet (40,000 square metres), and a previously planned outlet mall has been scrapped altogether.
The commercial space will take up 12 per cent of the footprint, leaving just under half of the remaining 36 hectares for open and green spaces and roads.
Barnett said the removal of the outlet mall allowed them to avoid invasive pilings that would have penetrated the peat layer below the soil. This also significantly reduces the expected traffic flow, which was also a concern of residents.
MK Delta Lands will still be spending $10 million toward highway improvements at 72nd and 64th Avenues, including a roundabout at the latter intersection.
The plan for 78 hectares of land west of Highway 91 remains unchanged, and would be absorbed into the contiguous Burns Bog Conservation Area.
Barnett said environmental plans and all other information related to the plan will soon be posted on the Corporation of Delta website so that residents may see responsible community planning.
“The proposed development will be a leading example of sustainable technology in North Delta,” she said.
The previous application passed first and second reading before going to Metro Vancouver’s board on July 26 to determine whether a regional government public hearing should precede the municipal one.
Municipally, the land is currently zoned I3 Extraction Industrial, and has historically been used for peat extraction operations. But because the application sought to amend the Official Community Plan to allow a mixed-use community, amendments to the Metro Vancouver Regioinal Growth Strategy are required in order to change the land use designation from its current Conservation and Recreation to General Urban.
The land would also be included within the Urban Containment Boundary, which it currently is not. Metro’s current designation is reserved for lands intended to “protect significant ecological assets.” Some environmental groups, such as the Burns Bog Conservation Society, argue that the land is part of the mineral-rich transition zone of the bog, and should not be disturbed.
Mayor Lois Jackson said Monday she wanted to emphasize to the public that the municipality went to Metro Vancouver before holding a public hearing in order to determine the proper process.
Revised bylaws will now come back for first and second reading, and a public hearing set for early 2014.
MK Delta Lands will have an information centre open to the public, located at 120th Street and 64th Avenue. It will be opening Oct. 1, and will remain open until Feb. 28, 2014.
Meanwhile, three public information sessions will be held in a drop-in format at the Sungod Recreation Centre (7815 112th St) on Sept. 26, Oct. 3, and Oct. 10, between 4-8:30 p.m.