News

Ashlie wants to discourage sitting on downtown lots

Maple Ridge Coun. Cheryl Ashlie doesn’t want Maple Ridge downtown to become a victim of its own success.

So she is proposing that staff find a way to keep downtown lots from being gobbled up by speculators, from near and far, who just want to sit on empty lots, rather than build and improve.

Ashlie said Maple Ridge’s No. 5 ranking in 2010 by the Real Estate Investment Network could attract investors who are looking to build long-term real estate portfolios.

That could be fine for security but doesn’t really mesh with plans for the district to build its downtown.

“My concern is around those who are simply looking for a global investment portfolio,” Ashlie said last week.

If there is a way of setting policies that encourage property owners to develop their properties rather than sit on them, Ashlie wants to get the policies in place before real estate interest really heats up and land gets tied up.

“I really want there to be clear signals. I just feel that’s important so we get it on the record.”

On Tuesday, council was set to debate Ashlie’s motion asking staff to find ways to “encourage timely and appropriate development,” in the downtown and Albion flats.

“Our downtown is not a huge area. We feel the empty lot syndrome much greater than another downtown core,” Ashlie said.

Maple Ridge could be “significantly impacted for years to come,” if such properties are held and not developed, the motion reads.

However, just what measures a municipality can take to discourage that isn’t known. The district’s successful downtown investment incentive plan, which has resulted in millions of dollars in new projects, does the opposite, by encouraging development through tax breaks and permit discounts.

However, staff have to find a way of discouraging owners from sitting on properties.

Ashlie also wants to ensure the two main corridors into the downtown, Lougheed Highway and Dewdney Trunk Road, are preserved for high-density development.

The district’s transportation plan is currently under review, but last year a motion was passed that the two be identified as transportation corridors. The long-term plan is also to extend rapid transit into the downtown along Lougheed Highway, once light rail transit crosses the Pitt River Bridge.

A state-of-the-art bikeway and pedestrian pathway is also ready to be built on the north side of Lougheed Highway, between 222nd and Laity streets, once money is available.

Ashlie pointed out she’s not advocating the municipality buy properties, but it should identify companies who want to actively develop properties.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Fraser hospitals screening for ebola, will isolate any victims in Surrey
 
Black Press launches 4Good crowdfunding initiative
 
Fight in Maple Ridge leaves one man dead, another in critical condition
Maple Ridge eco development manager seeks Abbotsford seat
 
Homes: Fraser Valley real estate market trending up
 
District seeks input on proposed highway move
Seabird Island students on television
 
Agassiz mayor seeking second term
 
Highway speed limits, tire rules reviewed

Community Events, October 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 1 edition online now. Browse the archives.