Delta council has all but approved the development of two six-storey apartment buildings next to Scottsdale Centre.
The development at 6950 Nicholson Rd.— dubbed Scott and Nicholson by developer Realco Holdings Ltd. — passed third reading at a public hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
Though it garnered unanimous support from the council members, some of the residents from the area voiced their concerns with respect to the project’s impact on traffic. Once built, the two buildings will feature 188 apartments, indoor and outdoor amenities and 248 underground parking spaces for future residents and visitors.
Vipin Sachdera, who has been living on Cougar Court just southwest of the proposed development for the past five years, told council members that increasing density in the area with a housing development would exacerbate traffic congestion on Nicholson Road and contribute to air pollution. Citing city statistics, he argued traffic had already increased by 250 per cent over the last five years.
“I live a house away from [Nicholson Road] and we can’t open our windows because of the traffic,” Sachdera said, adding that school traffic related to Seaquam Secondary and Cougar Canyon Elementary alone cannot be responsible for the increase in cars because that traffic had already existed.
“I expect the traffic to busy at school time, morning and the evening, but I don’t expect traffic before eight o’clock to be this busy everyday, day after day.”
He also raised his concerns regarding a vacant lot adjacent to the proposed buildings where he believes more construction — and thus more congestion — is slated for the future. Sachdera asked city council to take a look at how the city can curb more traffic being funneled south through his neighbourhood and towards Highway 91.
“I understand the need to develop, I understand the need for affordable housing, but at the same time I believe that the mayor and council should also consider the neighbourhood that we are in,” he went on.
“I moved there because of trees, I moved there because of the quiet area, I moved there because of there being not-so-toxic air than there is right now.”
City of Delta’s manager of special projects and land development, Doreann Mayhew, said a traffic impact assessment, which included anticipated future developments on the same lot as the two proposed apartment buildings, showed that during mornings, the city anticipates 70 vehicle trips to and from that block, while the afternoon would see 80 vehicle trips.
“The traffic impact assessment indicated that about 90 per cent of vehicle trip will actually proceed northbound,” Mayhew told council. “So those are vehicle trips that would be looking for destinations either on 70th Avenue, Scott Road, [or] 72nd Avenue. About 10 per cent of vehicle trip would be heading towards Lyon Road.”
A separate concern came from Cougar Creek Streamkeepers’ project coordinator for community rain gardens, Deborah Jones, who wants Realco to address the absorption of rain water around the development. Historically, Jones said, the land beneath the proposed buildings was Scott Lake, which was drained in the mid-1920s and replaced by wetlands.
She explained both the lake and the wetlands used to feed rain water into Cougar Creek, but since the land was developed in the 1960s, the creek gets a “glut of water, a torrent of water piped into the creek” during wet seasons, leaving almost no water to feed Cougar Creek in the summer months.
“[The water] is polluted by pollutants from the cars and the pavement itself,” Jones told the Reporter. “None of that is good for fish downstream and it’s also not good for properties downstream. There’s been a lot of downstream erosion and a lot of flooding, [and] people who walk in the Delta Nature Reserve know there’s flooding down there.”
She said the Streamkeepers would have liked to see more area dedicated to “above ground infiltration” of rain water, which mimics how the water is naturally absorbed into the ground, but she is in favour of the development after having been assured Realco will see to it there will be green spaces at the development.
“If all developments were required to set aside 15 per cent land, we could have almost as good as nature,” she argued, speaking from experience of building rain gardens around Delta. “We understand we need to densify, but we don’t want to densify by cramming the maximum amount of people in and not … enjoying [nature].”