PT: Kenneth Chan weighs in on Tsawwassen Mills from a planning perspective in the Daily Hive – one of the first media commentators to touch the highly sensitive nature of the issue.  But really, given the disastrous consequences of such a development and the possibility of other choices, what’s taken so long?



There is no question that the returns from the continued agricultural use of the lands would be severely limited, whereas commercial and real estate development generates significantly more jobs and tax revenues for the First Nation, allowing its members to enjoy a higher quality of life and exercise their full aboriginal rights.

But on a whole for the Metro Vancouver region, the economic return from this type of economic development is limited when examined on a macro, long-term scale.

Putting the land to better use

TFN has used precious, soil-rich farmland to build commercial and residential developments, types of economic development that could also be built within the existing urban containment boundary – ideally near transit. And above all, it falls out of line with the regional district’s efforts to prevent the expansion of urban sprawl and instead focus growth in dense areas.

If the lands were to be exclusively used for industrial purposes, an economic case could be made for the use of these agricultural lands, albeit it would be a highly controversial one. ..

At the very least, such a site should have been used for a type of development found nowhere else in the region, perhaps even a large world-class amusement park given that Tsawwassen sees far more sunshine and less precipitation than anywhere else in Metro Vancouver. …

While the Tsawwassen First Nation’s lands are used in the most efficient way to achieve the band’s goals, the same cannot be said for the best interests of the region.