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Pitt farmland out of ALR
A large swath of farmland in Pitt Meadows has been removed from the provincially protected agricultural land reserve paving the way for a mall.
The Agricultural Land Commission approved the exclusion of 33.1 hectares (81 acres) of undeveloped land in the North Lougheed corridor last week, with four conditions.
“They have given us the green light,” said an ecstatic Mayor Deb Walters.
“There is still considerable work to be done in a rather short period of time but their support is the first step in moving forward."
The City of Pitt Meadows applied for exclusion last October despite protest from many residents and a petition against it.
Council support for the exclusion application however was not unanimous. Three councillors - Bruce Bell, Janis Elkerton and Dave Murray - were against it.
The conditions for approval include further protection of farmland in other parts of the city; a required change in Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy and beginning construction of the North Lougheed Connector within three years of the ALC’s acceptance of a traffic calming plan for Old Dewdney Trunk Road.
The North Lougheed Connector has been pitched by the city as a way to take traffic off Old Dewdney Trunk.
"We all agree we need to find a way to accommodate the ever increasing traffic coming from the east that aggravates farmers and commuters alike," said Walters.
"As a council, we are firm in our commitment to diversify the tax base, provide local jobs and preserve our agricultural roots. This decision helps support all of those things."
Of the land being considered for development, only around 17.5 hectares (43 acres) are zoned highway commercial.
The remaining 33.1 hectares (81 acres) are in the provincial agricultural land reserve, created in 1973 to protect valuable farmland.
Five of the properties in the proposed exclusion area have fields in production, growing corn for silage, forage and blueberries.
Each of the properties have different owners, including the city’s former fire chief Bill Park, veterinarian George Robertson, the Meadows Gardens Golf Course and Pitt Meadows Shopping Centres Ltd. (a subsidiary of SmartCentres).