10/28/2013 03:37 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Public speaks out on controversial Tsawwassen development

Three days of public hearings launch Monday to determine the fate of a controversial development plan for southeast Tsawwassen.

Developer Century Group owns 530 acres of farmland near Boundary Bay and Beach Grove — an area known as Southlands — and wants to build 950 homes on the property, in addition to approximately 80,000 square feet of commercial space.

Opponents of the plan argue that the development will swell the population by some 2,700 people, adding untold cars to the region's crowded roads and threatening the local ecosystem. The area is immediately adjacent to Boundary Bay Regional Park, part of the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds.

Dana Maslovat, an organizer with Southlands The Facts, is one of those mobilizing opposition to the plan.

"We're asking people that are opposed to this development to come out wearing black and the reason why we've chosen black is we really feel that Delta council has really opposed the community wishes and the majority of the community individuals," says Maslovat. "And if they're not going to listen to the majority on this proposal, we see this hearing as being the death of democracy in Delta."

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson says no law can bar Century Group from applying to develop the land.

The public hearings run from 3 to 9:45 p.m. Monday through Wednesday at the South Delta Recreation Centre.