News

Maple Ridge land owner and commission at odds over fill

Binder Khun Khun brought in the fill to build a road so he could build a septic field for his house. - Phil Melnychuk/The News
Binder Khun Khun brought in the fill to build a road so he could build a septic field for his house.
— image credit: Phil Melnychuk/The News

All Binder Khun Khun wants to do is finish his home, build a green house and start growing vegetables and bedding plants in the fertile floodplain of the North Alouette River.

But a dispute with the Agricultural Land Commission that’s dragged on for four years is driving him to his wit’s end because he says he’s being unfairly persecuted.

“I can’t move forward. It’s just put me in dire straits,” he said Wednesday.

Khun Khun bought the property at 13429 – 224th St. in 2006.

In 2008, he started building a road behind his new house so he could build a septic field.

That’s when the land commission moved in and slapped a stop-work order on the property, saying that he was bringing construction debris – boulders and broken concrete and asphalt – on to his farm property for road building materials.

According to the commission, Khun Khun needed authorization to bring in the fill, telling him that only fill for flood proofing was allowed, and that he faced a $100,000 fine.

Khun Khun has been told to stop bringing any more materials on to his property, a condition which he’s been following for the last four years, and says that a commission officer keeps harassing him.

In the last year, he said an officer has been to his place three or four times.

“I’ll bring in a dirt load of manure and he shows up.”

The stop-work order also keeps him from getting an occupancy permit from the District of Maple Ridge for his house because he can’t complete landscaping or the septic field.

“I’ve been living in the house for three years. It’s immaculate. They [the district] won’t even come in,” to inspect, he said.

The order also means he can’t get permission to build a greenhouse or a shed to start farming activities.

Neither can he afford to remove the material, adding that a contractor he’s been working with doesn’t have the equipment to screen the debris.

Khun Khun says his neighbour is also  bringing in such construction waste.

“People are using this material everywhere.”

But ALC executive-director Colin Fry says the matter can be resolved easily.

Just remove the soil.

Then the stop-work order will be removed.

Fry visited Khun Khun’s property in February and thought everyone had agreed to that. All Khun Khun has to do is scrape up part of the flat surface where the material has been spread, put it in a pile, then remove that, along with an existing pile, from the property.

“If it took more than a truckload, I would be surprised. I’m astonished that he hasn’t accepted my offer and pursued it.”

He said most of the time land commission staff are on the property is because Khun Khun’s called them.

However, no top soil can be brought on to the property for landscaping purposes while the stop-work order is in effect.

Fry said that landfill brought on to a neighbouring property is being used for diking and flood-control purposes, which is permitted under the land commission regulations.

However, fill can’t be dumped on farmland to generally raise the elevation of land.

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