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Marina Gardens passes third reading

Marina Garden Estates will be built out within a 10-year plan. At issue is the first phase designated 2A, which will set a density of 49 units per hectare. The land is currently designated at 42 units/ha but was always planned as a high density development by previous councils. - Contributed
Marina Garden Estates will be built out within a 10-year plan. At issue is the first phase designated 2A, which will set a density of 49 units per hectare. The land is currently designated at 42 units/ha but was always planned as a high density development by previous councils.
— image credit: Contributed

The final phase of Marina Garden Estates passed third reading tonight (July 15) following a narrow 4-2 vote in favour by Delta's council.

The application, forwarded by Captain's Cove Marina and designed by Polygon Homes, visibly split the community of Ladner during a marathon public hearing held June 25 and 26 that heard over 70 speakers come forward.

The final phase approved will add 674 dwelling units in the form of townhomes and apartments to the existing 619 housing units in Woodward's Landing, Chesapeake Landing, and South Point.

The issue caused many sleepless nights for Coun. Ian Paton, who said he's been torn between the belief the density is too high and the understanding it's already been approved under previous bylaws.

"To me, this is the biggest thing that's happened in the history of Ladner," he said. "I mean, there's been nothing even come close to it since I was a kid growing up as far as developments."

Paton said people weren't asking for many changes in the public hearing, just a reduced density and wider townhomes.

"Ladner's very unique. We're not like North Delta, we're not like parts of Coquitlam and Surrey and Langley where they have these great long roads with 16-foot wide, three-storey high townhomes. This is Ladner."

Coun. Robert Campbell said the density shouldn't be an issue because it was set under the 1996 Official Community Plan for Marina Gardens.

"I don't know why we can sit here and talk about density and pretend that the density on this piece of property is going to change," he said, adding no developer in their right mind would give up their right to build the units they're allowed under current zoning.

"We're deluding ourselves if we think we can play brinkmanship with the developer and say, well no, the 1996 plan is no longer viable," he said.

But the density was a sticking point for Coun. Sylvia Bishop, who compared the development to trying to cram a "size 10" foot into a size nine shoe.

"You can do it, maybe, but the toes are cramped, and the fit is uncomfortable," she said.

Bishop added the lone remaining four-storey apartment building isn't in keeping with the character of the area.

"I understand that many people feel the density is far too high," said Coun. Bruce McDonald, but added council has a legal and ethical requirement to approve the density of a project already approved under the Official Community Plan.

Mayor Lois Jackson agreed, saying the land doesn't belong to council, it belongs to a company that has rights. She said that Marina Gardens is already approved for an even higher density than the one proposed by Captain's Cove Marina, which means turning down the proposal would only invite a new application under the approved higher density.

Council voted in favour of third reading for the application with Mayor Lois Jackson, and Couns. Bruce McDonald, Jeannie Kanakos, and Robert Campbell in favour, while Couns. Sylvia Bishop and Ian Paton were opposed. Coun. Scott Hamilton abstained for a declared conflict of interest because his daughter works for Polygon Homes.

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