A contentious highrise project at Scott Road and 93A Avenue is going ahead after getting final approval from council Monday afternoon.
The project narrowly passed fourth reading Monday afternoon (March 28), the 4-3 vote mirroring what happened after a heated public hearing and debate more than nine months ago — Mayor George Harvie and councillors Dylan Kruger, Alicia Guichon and Bruce McDonald in favour, and councillors Lois Jackson, Jeannie Kanakos and Dan Copeland opposed.
The 29-storey mixed-use development in North Delta’s Townline Node area will 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.
A six-storey building at the west side of the property will contain 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.
The rental units will be secured for 20 years through a site-specific rezoning, including 10 units locked in at below-market rates. The project marks 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.
The project will also include a dedicated 3,775 sq. ft. childcare facility large enough for 30 children — 2,335 sq. ft. indoors, 1,440 sq. ft. outdoors. Ownership of the space will be transferred to the city at no cost as part of the developer’s community benefits package.
Construction and delivery of the rental building and childcare space will be done prior to or concurrently with occupancy of the tower units.
The developer, BM Group, will also be required to provide five per cent of the appraised value of the rezoned land 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.
A staff report notes the project complies with the Official Community Plan, the draft Townline Special Development Area Concept Plan and the recommendations of the Mayor’s Housing Task Force for Scott Road released in October of 2020.
The task force 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.”