The ABC’s of Delta: Exploring the communities of Delta


Aviation and aviaries abound 

Perhaps not as well known as YVR or YXX, Delta’s YDT or Boundary Bay Airport is the fifth busiest airport in Canada. Started as an air force training centre during World War II, the airport services corporate aircrafts, helicopters and aviation training programs.

Airplanes and helicopters are not the only things flying over Delta. On any given day you may look up into the sky to see thousands of birds passing through a flyway over the community.

“Delta is still considered a safe place for birds to stop on their migration,” Martina Versteeg, raptor care supervisor at Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (O.W.L. for short) said. Birds come from across the province to O.W.L.’s facilities, some brought by aircraft to the local airport.


From the border to the bog

Burns Bog.jpg
The magic of Burns Bog- Image courtesy of Ruth Hartnop

The Boundary Bay border crossing connects Delta to Point Roberts, a U.S. land exclave. A geographical and historical oddity, Point Roberts is connected by land only to Canada. Most Canadians cross this border to access the mailboxes for their amazon orders or to bask in the sun of the seaside town, and the town is inhabited mainly by U.S. border employees.

In addition to border crossings, Delta is a major traffic thoroughfare, bringing with it many challenges for the community. With 62 kilometers of coastline and bordered by water on three sides, Delta is also a major marine waterway. Tsawwassen Ferry terminal connects Delta to Vancouver Island, while the Fraser river grazes Delta’s northwestern edge.

More ecologically important than economically so, over 8,000 acres of Delta are taken up by a gigantic bog. Burns Bog is the largest of its kind on the Western side of the continent, over eight times larger than Vancouver’s Stanley Park.


Culture, community and change

Delta is a municipality that encompasses three distinct communities- the Tsawwassen First Nation, the town of Ladner and the area of North Delta. Tsawwassen is an urban first nation with 479 members, 204 of which live on the nation’s land.

Lorraine Yates, manager at non-profit organization Deltassist, said Delta faces two major challenges- affordable housing and transportation. She sees seniors as well as new Canadians feeling the push.

Each community has its own unique demographic mix. “There’s a larger seniors population in Ladner and Tsawassen. In North Delta you would find more families. We have more new Canadians in North Delta,” Yates said. A community in transition, Delta is diversifying as Surrey expands and residents move over the municipal boundary to North Delta. This past year Delta has seen many new immigrants, some refugees from Syria, move into North Delta.

Councillor Sylvia Bishop is a Deltan through and through, having lived and worked in the area for 51 years. For Bishop, development and traffic are major issues across Delta. One major point of contention for the Delta community is the massive George Massey Tunnel replacement project.

“As the bridge replacement project moves forward, we’re a divided community. I don’t think there’s anybody that disagrees we have to do something about the congestion there, but the community is not united behind one proposal,” Bishop said.

More daily news from the Delta beat @TheDeltaDaily.


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