As the Tsawwassen First Nation unveils its plans for an expanded industrial park designed to boost the community’s economy, others are raising concerns it could add to traffic bottlenecks and negatively affect agricultural land.
“It’s our opportunity to reclaim our rightful place in this day and age. And, for us to be successful, that’s being a part of the modern era and being involved with development,” Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Bryce Williams said.
The project involves the development of 300 acres of land into the Deltaport Logistics Centre, an industrial park that will service the Roberts Bank Superport in Delta. The first phase of the industrial complex has already been leased and is ready to be built, while the second phase is actively being sold by the Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN) Economic Development Corporation.
But critics worry the project will have a negative impact on Delta‘s environment.
“Good development for TFN but it’s not good for the ecology that Delta represents,” Vicki Huntington, MLA for Delta South, said. She added the ecological value of the agricultural lands along the Roberts Bank was not granted sufficient recognition by the TFN’s development plans.
Locals are also concerned the project, along with the First Nation’s Tsawwassen Gateway Logistics Centre, could contribute to rising traffic gridlock in the area, similar to the jams seen in early October after the opening of Tsawwassen Mills Mall. During the Thanksgiving long weekend, some drivers said it took them more than three hours to get out of the mall’s parking lot.
WATCH: Grand opening of Tsawwassen Mills causing traffic concerns
In 2007, the Tsawwassen First Nation became one of the first First Nations in B.C. to achieve a treaty under the B.C. treaty process. When the agreement came into effect in 2009, it more than doubled the size of the community’s reserve south of Vancouver and granted TFN millions of dollars to help develop the land, in addition to giving it more control over how the area was governed.
– With files from Aaron McArthur