11/08/2013 01:25 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 10:53 EST

Delta council approves Southlands development project

Delta City Council voted this morning to approve a controversial development plan for a 500-acre parcel of land in southeast Tsawwassen known commonly as the Southlands.

Councillors voted 5-1 in favour of the development proposal just after 10:30 a.m. PT Friday morning. The development plan will now go before the board of Metro Vancouver for more debate.

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

Opponents of the plan have argued 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.

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