According to Macdougall

Industrial alternatives needed

Maple Ridge resident Sandy McDougall says industrial growth is one of the few ways to hold the line on residential tax increases.

Editor, The News:

Most municipal taxpayers are left wondering why there is an automatic proposed increase in expenditures in the municipal budget.

There are many answers to this question, but a quick glance at truly stupid proposed municipal planning strategies reveals some of the reasons.

Budgets are difficult for the average person to understand, but industrial and commercial growth is one of the few ways in which it is possible to hold the line on residential tax increases.

This is where proposed strategies in commercial and industrial development come into play.

Although there is ample suitable land available in the western portions of Maple Ridge, the municipality is about to propose industrial development in two areas, neither of which will sit well with neighbouring residential developments.

The first location is a 38-acre site on the south side of the Lougheed Highway, which was purchased many years ago by the province as part of the Cottonwood corridor/Fraser River crossing  project that has since been abandoned in favour of the Golden Ears Bridge. It lies between a small-lot residential development to the west and a townhouse development to the east. Not only is the site encumbered by surrounding, established residential neighbourhoods, development would also be restricted due to sloping topography and existing watercourses.

Not a bright idea.

The second location is approximately 60 acres lying south and west of the intersection of 232nd Street and 128th Avenue. Most of this proposed location lies within the agricultural land reserve, but due to soil and drainage conditions, it is better suited to residential development. It is also surrounded on all sides by existing residential development.

If folks in that area don’t like the existing traffic mess on their neighbourhood streets, they will be even less thrilled with industrial traffic adding to their driving woes.

While the aggregate total of both sites would help satisfy the growing need for more industrial land, the adjacent residents will probably start their very own Idle No More movement to squelch such development.

The entire municipal proposed industrial development strategy is highly unlikely to result in any development that will mitigate the need to continue to increase taxes on all properties, with residential property owners suffering the most.

Alternatives are needed, but that will require practical decision making at the staff and council level.

Sandy Macdougall

Maple Ridge

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