A highrise proposed for North Delta’s Townline neighbourhood is going to a public hearing after a close vote by council on Monday.
The proposed mixed-use development, which calls for a 29-storey highrise and six-storey rental building at the corner of Scott Road and 93A Avenue, passed first and second reading by a narrow 4-3 vote, with councillors Jeannie Kanakos, Dan Copeland and Lois Jackson voting against the project, councillors Dylan Kruger, Alicia Guichon and Bruce McDonald voting in favour, and Mayor George Harvie casting the deciding vote.
The highrise portion of the project would include 264 market strata residential units — 52 studio, 105 one-bedroom and 107 two-bedroom —and a single-storey podium containing over 3,110 sq. ft. of commercial space, 3,660 sq. ft. of common indoor amenity space and 13,153 sq. ft. of common outdoor amenity space.
As well, the project would include a 3,775 sq. ft. private childcare facility (2,335 sq. ft. indoors and 1,440 sq. ft. outdoors), which would provide 30 childcare spaces.
The six-storey building at the west side of the property would include 50 rental units on the first five floors —13 studio, 20 one-bedroom and 17 two-bedroom, 580 sq. ft. of common indoor amenity space on the sixth floor, and 6,070 sq. ft. of common outdoor amenity space.
As part of the project’s proposed community benefits package (offered in-lieu of a monetary contribution), the developer is offering the rental units be secured for 20 years through a site-specific rezoning. Through that arrangement, 10 of the 50 rental units would be offered at below-market rates, also for a period of 20 years.
If the proposal moves forward, it would be the first time Delta has used its legal authority to secure rental housing through zoning, a measure made possible by changes made to the Local Government Act in 2018.
In addition, the developer would be required to provide five per cent of the appraised value of the land as rezoned as cash-in-lieu of park land dedication. The funds would be used by the city to buy land in the surrounding area to be used for new public green spaces and greenways within the Townline neighbourhood.
During council’s discussion of the proposal, Mayor Harvie noted the project aligns with the Official Community Plan, the Townline Special Development Area Concept Plan and the recommendations of the Mayor’s Housing Task Force for Scott Road released last October, as well as Delta’s childcare strategy and action plan and draft housing action plan recommendations, and was unanimously support by Delta’s Advisory Design Panel and endorsed by the Mayor’s Youth Council.
Harvie then spoke of his desire to see the city own the childcare-designated space should the proposal ultimately be approved.
“The only way that we can actually protect good, quality childcare space and proper leases which would provide adequate and proper funding for the childcare staff is by ownership.”
Coun. Kanakos, following up on Harvie’s comments, moved that staff be directed to speak with the developer about transferring ownership of the childcare-designated space to the City of Delta. The motion passed unanimously.
Last October, the Mayor’s Housing Task Force for Scott Road identified the area— dubbed the Innovation District/Townline neighbourhood in its report — as one that could accommodate the highest densities and tallest buildings, with the biggest located near 96th and tapering down towards 92nd.
The task force’s vision calls for a mix of live/work townhouses, mixed-use and residential structures up to six storeys in height, and mid- to highrise towers up to 18 storeys high, with the possibility of building up to 29 storeys when developers provide contributions towards community and neighbourhood improvements.
Several features and amenities would “contribute to the Townline Innovation District’s liveability,” including a centrally-located new park surrounded by active ground floor uses to help animate the space, a multi-use greenway trail along the railway corridor and 119B Street that would help link the district to other North Delta neighbourhoods, and a community space that could potentially include a daycare, recreation space, gym and/or youth centre.
“Innovation in design permeates this neighbourhood, with its industrial chic identity recalling the nearby railway and gritty historic uses,” the task force’s report says, noting the area is an ideal place to spearhead new construction materials and take advantage of the province’s push towards mass timber technologies for midrise and highrise buildings.
“While the district redevelops and evolves into a fully realized neighbourhood, existing affordable commercial and industrial properties will be prime locations to attract entrepreneurship, light industrial and creative artisan uses.”
The public hearing for the proposed highrise development will take place at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 8 via Zoom videoconference.
Those wishing to speak at the hearing must register with the office of the city clerk either by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 604-946-3220 and providing the meeting date, your contact information (name, address, phone number and email address) and whether you plan to attend by telephone or videoconference.
The hearing will be broadcast online at delta.ca/watchlive.