Letters to the Editor

Frustrating side of conservation

Editor, The News:

According to consultant Catherine Berris, people in Maple Ridge are happy with local stream protection regulations.

Berris, a municipal consultant, could have qualified that claim by adding that it mostly applies only to people who don’t own land encumbered by municipal policies on stream setbacks.

It seems all kinds of folks are in favour of preserving something as long as it isn’t located on their own property.

Everyone, including developers, wants to preserve those precious amenities that make Maple Ridge a special place to live, but municipal policies are making it increasingly difficult to pay the tariff on all the bells and whistles required by Maple Ridge through the development process.

While I have absolutely no vested interest in any development, I do appreciate and enjoy the benefits of living in an area blessed with dozens of streams and mountainous terrain. But the ever-widening municipal requirements for stream protection and other bureaucratic demands are placing an unfair financial burden on private land owners, subsequent developers and the end purchasers of homes.

The confusing array of varying regulations and attendant costs imposed by federal, provincial and municipal bodies on the subject of stream protection and other requirements relegates private property owners to the back seat in favour of bureaucratic demands.

While Couns. Al Hogarth and Mike Morden seem to recognize the unfair and questionable imposition of stream setbacks that vary from five metres required under agricultural land reserve policies to the 30-metre requirements under municipal development guidelines, there is not much hope that any of the existing requirements will be altered or lessened.

Application of official community plan policies can and frequently does impose many entirely unfair burdens on property owners and stream protection setbacks is just one of them.

Designated school or park sites and conservation areas can also be very frustrating to the land owners involved, developers and home purchasers.

If you want a good example, just ask residents in Silver Valley, who have been waiting more than a decade for schools, parks, sidewalks and other amenities promised in the community plan but still not forthcoming.

Sandy Macdougall

Maple Ridge

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