Patterson Park in Delta. (Google maps screen shot)

COLUMN: Paterson Park’s time has come

ML Burke writes the Ladner property should be used to build dedicated seniors-friendly housing

By ML Burke

The Delta Seniors Planning Team (including yours truly) gave a presentation to city council in 2014 pitching a senior-friendly community be built at Paterson Park, a roughly 24-acre piece of mostly unused land at the corner of Ladner Trunk Road and Highway 17A.

Since then many people have asked me “What’s going on with Paterson Park?” A couple of years back I asked that same question to the municipality. They said Paterson Park was not for this council to decide but for a future council 10 or 15 years down the road.

(Editor’s note: The City of Delta only owns the western part of the park. Kwantlen Polytechnic University owns the 10-acre eastern portion.)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, chaos has taken over our housing market. Blaming it on foreign ownership, scarcity of land and homegrown speculators doesn’t help. Possible solutions have been too little or too late. We’ve been losing our rental stock since the 1980s when the rules changed rendering it unprofitable for developers to construct rental-only buildings. The cost of land is so high now that these aging rentals are being demolished and replaced by high-end apartments for the wealthy.

This leaves the middle and working class folks out of the picture. Add to that adults on fixed incomes, plus young people starting out, and we’re looking at more than 50 per cent of the population who are being forced to leave Metro Vancouver. Losing our workforce is already having serious effects on the economy, with restaurants closing, a shortage of health-care workers and “Hiring Now” signs seen everywhere. Vancouver lost the Amazon bid because our cost of living is too high.

And there sits Paterson Park, which is probably the largest, ideally located piece of available land left in the Fraser basin. It’s not right that people who have grown up here have to leave because of our skyrocketing cost-of-living.

I see Paterson Park as a major opportunity, not to mention a legacy, for this incoming council to do something needed and innovative on this site. If the city leases it for 99 years to both profit and non-profit housing it could have a healthy mix of ages and incomes. There’s enough space to create a small village with a smattering of small shops. It would be walkable, affordable and appropriate for all income levels. No need for towers, but three to six stories would create a sizable stock of new housing.

On the Kwantlen University side of the property, students going into the health fields could be trained at a campus of care centre, including a dementia village. This would fulfill their mandate for education.

We don’t have 10 or 15 years to wait for a decision on Paterson Park. If ever there was a time, it is now. Housing is a major election issue in Delta and Paterson Park should be part of that discussion.

If you would like to comment on this vision, search Facebook for Paterson Park Village.

ML Burke retired from the health sector to work on issues such as affordable housing. She sits on the Delta Seniors Planning Team and the BC Seniors Advocate’s Council of Advisors.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mark Taylor’s hockey life: A ‘Cyclone’ for grandpa, pro days in NHL and new gig as DHA coach

Retail store operator embraces the role of coaching female hockey players

Surrey councillor wants property taxes deferred to December

Linda Annis is expected to present notice of motion to that effect at April 6 “virtual” council meeting

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

April 6: Thousands apply for emergency response benefit on opening day of program

Tour de White Rock cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

Annual cycling races were originally scheduled for July 18-19

Delta companies asked to contribute through B.C.’s new COVID-19 supply hub

New online hub to co-ordinate, source, expedite supplies and equipment to support front-line workers

As 240K apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

COVID-19 world update: 1,000 cases hit U.S. military; Good news in Spain, Portugal

Comprehensive collection of coronavirus news from around the world

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open this week

Bars, cannabis sector eligible for $40B credit program from government bank

Applicants must go through their own banks to access the program

Immunocompromised community call for more options to get groceries during COVID-19

One woman has decided to build a greenhouse to ensure she is able to access food throughout pandemic

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Most Read