Eco lodge proposed near Whonnock Lake

Maple Ridge council likes the idea of an 11-cabin eco tourist lodge located near Whonnock Lake in east Maple Ridge.

The proposal got first reading last week and will have to provide more information before it goes to second reading. But plans are to build a banquet hall with capacity of about 300, a spa, pool, hot tub and sauna, coffee bar and small shop, with bike and kayak storage along with parking.

“This is going to move Maple Ridge beyond day-trip tourism,” said Mayor Ernie Daykin.

Rahim and Ali Mohammadi-Sarband want to build four duplex and seven single cabins on a three-hectare property at 27908 Dewdney Trunk Rd., just north of Whonnock Lake.

The development would require a land redesignation in the Official Community Plan, but wouldn’t require any public consultation.

A stream runs through the property and an existing house (to be demolished) uses well and septic field services.

The project could also include a pathway a dock on Whonnock Lake, but agreements would have to be in place to ensure public access to the dock, while adequate and water and sewage systems would be required, says a staff report.

Length of stay at the lodge would be limited to 30 days, although Coun. Cheryl Ashlie said the economic development office should be consulted to ensure the limit wouldn’t affect movie crews in the area who could use the facility. The district wouldn’t want to discourage actor Brad Pitt from staying in the district longer, she joked.

Coun. Al Hogarth supported the project, but wanted as many environmentally responsible features as possible such as use of geothermal for heating.

The lodge could provide accommodation to students at the Justice Institute nearby, he added.

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