Stick to the OCP, argue Delta residents opposed to tower

Protestors made their presence felt once again on Sunday morning at the site of a controversial high-rise proposal in North Delta.

Getting encouraging honks from passing motorists, a couple of dozen residents were outside the fenced lot at 75A Avenue and Scott Road conveying their message the development application is too dense and that a smaller, scaled-back residential building would be more suitable.

City council is scheduled to consider the application by Arzone Real Estate Investments Ltd. and Hari Homes Inc. on Nov. 4.

The applicant originally proposed a 35-storey high-rise with 280 units, as well as 14 townhouse on site.

A revised proposal now increases the number of high-rise units to 329 in a 35-storey structure, while reducing the number of townhomes to six. In total, there’s an increase of 41 units.

The revised proposal also includes 70 so-called affordable housing units under the Affordable Home Ownership Program, in partnership with B.C. Housing, aimed at middle-income earners.

However, saying they want to ensure the application doesn’t elude public scrutiny, Deb Knowles argues it’s too much of a variance from the Official Community Plan.

She said the Delta Rise high-rise tower down the street on Scott Road was approved with little input.

“Information mail outs from the City of Delta covered only a small area surrounding that tower and never went as far as our neighbourhood in the 75A area. Much of North Delta was not made aware of this project until after the public hearing which was a time when many families were getting ready for Christmas,” she told the Optimist.

“Fast forward to the 35-storey high-rise development proposed for 75A and Scott Road. This project includes a tower that is 29 storeys taller than the Official Community Plan for our neighbourhood…We are here letting other Delta residents know that this area is residential, has been identified and written into the OCP as single-family residential and medium-mixed use on Scott Road.”

75A high-rise application

Hari Homes says it's focused on providing affordable and attainable housing options.

Knowles said residents directly impacted, as well as those as far away as Ladner, took part in the protest in the pouring rain on Sunday.

“At the Ladner housing needs workshop, I heard over and over that Delta, not north, not south, but Delta, needs housing options that continue to provide options that foster community, inclusion and forward-thinking. Taller does not mean better. Small spaces, greenspace and less congestion all need to be art of the solution,” she added.

The Community Livability Advisory Committee this summer heard a presentation from B.C. Housing on the home ownership program component of the application. The majority of committee members during their discussion acknowledged they supported new affordable housing initiatives but were not sold on the location of the proposed high-rise.

Staff acknowledged that the revised North Delta Area Plan has a number of nodes in which high-rises would be encouraged, but the high-rise in question, which would also have commercial and daycare space, is outside those designated nodes.

In an interview this summer, Deep Dhillon with Rennie & Associates, the sales and marketing firm for application, noted the corridor is the most ideal in Delta for higher density to create more affordable housing. He said it will be seeing a lot of changes, regardless, on the Surrey side.

“I think that’s something that hasn’t been brought up because people have been looking at this as solely a Delta perspective, but, obviously, we do need to not only dial in on this one specific corner of Scott Road but what will be happening a decade from now. What will this look like in terms of the applications coming forward?” asked Dhillon.

Meanwhile, the City of Delta has another application to build a 31-storey building in the 9500-block of Scott Road. Currently on hold, that application by Maple Leaf Homes would have 220 residential units with 1,356 square feet of commercial floor area.

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