It's a community I no longer recognize. It's a refrain, I'm told, that was uttered repeatedly following a two-decade, post-tunnel building boom that saw Delta's population increase tenfold, from somewhere in the neighbourhood of 8,000 to upwards of 80,000.
Several factors, including introduction of the Agricultural Land Reserve and a changing political tide, eventually slowed the pace of development considerably, meaning the place many came to call home has remained relatively unchanged for decades. Oh sure, there have been residential and commercial projects, but the Delta people came to know years ago is still pretty much the same Delta we hold dear today.
How much longer that continues to be the case is most definitely open for interpretation, however.
A population explosion of the magnitude of the post-tunnel era is not likely given current land use restrictions, but I don't think it's hyperbolic to suggest the face of Delta stands to change dramatically over the next 20 years.
The notion of sleepy bedroom communities framed by pastoral farm fields will be very much challenged by a host of mega projects, including, ironically enough, a replacement for the George Massey Tunnel.
A half-century after the tunnel ushered in unprecedented growth, we have just begun the process of designing another crossing of the Fraser River. Considered to still be a decade away, there's a good likelihood a new bridge would create significant development opportunities on both sides of the river, but it has to get in line in terms of character-altering undertakings.
The South Fraser Perimeter Road, scheduled to open late this year, is the first one off the mark, the new highway opening up a host of new possibilities.
Couple that with the Tsawwassen First Nation's ambitious development plans, which include almost two million square feet of commercial space in a pair of mega malls as well as major residential and industrial projects.
Throw in Terminal 2, another three-berth container port at Roberts Bank, and all the ancillary rail, road and industrial park improvements that come with it, and it almost makes the decision regarding the Southlands seem inconsequential.
OK, so perhaps that's going too far, but the look and feel of this municipality is poised to change. The tight-knit community cores will remain, but the farm fields surrounding them are giving way to what's termed progress.
We're moving ahead, but in a way it's like we're stepping back 50 years.