Opinion

News Views: Fair shake

Maple Ridge council wants the district to be treated the same as Pitt Meadows by the Agricultural Land Commission.

The city has applied to exclude 33 hectares of farm land north of Lougheed Highway from the agricultural reserve for a shopping mall, business park and road construction.

Maple Ridge previously sought comments from the commission to exclude property along the highway, west of 105th Avenue in Albion flats for the same purposes.

The commission said it wouldn’t support that, mainly for environmental reasons, but would consider an application on the east side of 105th Avenue.

In 2010, the commission also rejected an application to remove 60 ha in Maple Ridge for a business park on the former Pelton tree nursery, at 203rd Street and Golden Ears Way. That property is close to the land Pitt Meadows wants to remove.

There are good reasons for Maple Ridge not to support the proposal by Pitt Meadows.

A report by consultant G. P. Rollo and Associates suggests the Pitt Meadows project could delay demand for industrial land in Maple Ridge by up to 15 years.

It  could also cost Maple Ridge up to 750 jobs during the same period, not to mention tax revenue.

Also, according to the latest Rollo report, Maple Ridge’s downtown would be hurt from a 10-per-cent reduction in demand for retail land, and a hotel and convention centre on the Pitt Meadows site could delay a similar project east of its border.

Such fears could have been alleviated had Maple Ridge not dragged its feet on a plan for the Albion flats. The district might have been busy sprucing up the downtown area, but it sure moved quickly on the Pelton proposal.

Did Maple Ridge, though, really expect its neighbours to sit idle, letting growth opportunities slip by?

It would be nice if the two municipalities could work together, developing plans for the east and west that complement one another and benefit all area residents – a hotel, convention and shopping centre at one end, and a light industrial, commercial and recreational hub at the other.

Having one land owner with a major stake in both locations would seemingly make such a suggestion amenable.

Why not make a joint proposal to the land commission?

What better way to ensure both get equal treatment.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

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