Maple Ridge council wants to talk to minister on Albion exclusion ruling

Maple Ridge council wants an explanation  about the Agricultural Land Commission over its rejection of an exclusion pitch for Albion flats.

“I don’t think we should accept this whatsoever,” said Coun. Al Hogarth, referring to last week’s denial of two applications to exclude from the reserve two parcels totalling 24 hectares.

A report now notes that chromium has been found on some parts of the site.

According to a district report, that means a new condition, reclaiming soil, must be addressed before the district can file its own application to exclude land on the east side of 105th Avenue.

Council will wait until staff get clarification from the commission on what it must do to improve soil conditions.

Hogarth said he was “taken aback” by the decision and surprised to hear that the district now must repair damage to soil, before it can apply for a block exclusion of land on the east side of 105th Avenue.

“Enough is enough here.

“What they allowed to happen in Pitt Meadows …we’ve been hog tied by the commission,” he said at Monday’s workshop meeting.

In addition to getting more information, council also agreed to request a meeting with Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm so council can explain how the decision is affecting Maple Ridge.

Hogarth said that the entire plan for the Albion area should be presented, including projections for the south side of Lougheed Highway.

Maple Ridge wanted to develop all of the Albion flats, on both sides of 105th Avenue but has been told three times by the commission it only would support development of the east side for light industry, recreation and retail.

Coun. Judy Dueck wanted more information and said if the requirement to remediate soil becomes too expensive, the area may not be developed. “If it doesn’t make commercial sense, it’s not going to happen.”

While saying she was frustrated by the decision, Coun. Cheryl Ashlie said it’s time to move on and focus on putting a plan together for developing the east side of 105th Avenue.

“The message is clear, enough is enough,” said Coun. Mike Morden.

Smart Centres mall company wants to exchange its land on the west of 105th with the district’s land on the east side for possible mall development.







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