No decision yet on embattled Delta high-rise proposal

Why doesn’t the city just tell the applicant behind a controversial North Delta high-rise proposal it’s a no-go, just as it did with a previous Century Group proposal in Tsawwassen?

That’s what Coun. Jeannie Kanakos asked on Monday at Delta council’s meeting at the Kennedy Seniors’ Centre, saying there are even more letters and another petition opposed to a 35-storey tower proposed for Scott Road and 75A Avenue.

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Kanakos pointed out how council agreed to tell Century Group that its application for a rental apartment fronting 56th Street at the Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall would not be considered following considerable resident opposition at a public information meeting.

Many South Delta residents complained about the siting and overall design, saying it looked like a Soviet-era apartment block. Century Group was told to come back with a different proposal that included details of an overall master plan for the town centre.

“What can we do to take this proposal for 75A off the books like we did with Tsawwassen? It was taken off the books because the community came out against it. It didn’t even go to a public hearing,” said Kanakos.

Community planning director Marcy Sangret acknowledged the considerable public opposition against the Century plan and said at that time a member of council brought forward a motion to send the application back, without even a staff report or recommendation.

She said the 75A high-rise application is still working its way through the process, having also gone through a public information meeting, and the city is receiving “quite a few letters” in opposition, although there’s also been some correspondence in support.

All that correspondence will be packaged with an upcoming report when council can decide whether to send it to a public hearing.

“One of the reasons why it has taken this long is the applicant has been made aware of the concerns and has been working to address as many as it can. So, some changes have been made over time since the original proposal and we’re getting nearer to when we can take it to council to make a decision, at that point with all the information, on whether they are prepared to move it forward,” she said.

Mayor George Harvie said staff have been working with the applicant, while noting the concerns, and it should be at the council table in the next six to eight weeks.

Two public information meetings were held in the fall of 2017 and more recently a re-notification notice was sent to the surrounding neighbourhood late last year that the project is now active again, following a period of it being on hold.

The high-rise application by Arzone Real Estate Investments Ltd. and Hari Homes Inc. has 294 units, commercial and daycare space as well as several townhouses at the ground level.

Meanwhile, the city has another application to build a 31-storey building in the 9500-block of Scott Road. That application by Satish Sharma and Maple Leaf Homes would have 220 residential units with 1,356 square feet of commercial floor area. It’s also started to generate negative feedback from residents. That application also still hasn’t gone to council for consideration.

Delta got its first skyscraper with the Delta Rise residential tower. That 37-storey tower at 80th Avenue and Scott Road consists of more than 300 units on top of four floors of office and retail space.

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