Annette LeBox and former NDP MLA Michael Sather oppose the land being removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve. (THE NEWS/files)

Letter: Vote no to ALR applications

Hotel and film studio? Industrial park? Inconceivable.

Editor, The News:

Re: Two applications at Maple Ridge city hall for farmland removal.

It’s unjustifiable to convert farmland into industrial use in a prime agricultural area.

Another application has been filed to exclude land from the Agricultural Land Reserve. The ALR refused a similar application in 2010.

The ALC said then, an exclusion would be an intrusion into the Agricultural Land Reserve and would erode remaining farmland by fueling speculation and precipitating similar requests from adjacent property owners.

In 2013, our city, Maple Ridge, put them on a list for possible removal from ALR for industrial development. Recently, Davison Farms had an application to remove 40 acres along 128th Avenue – more prime agricultural area asking to be excluded.

There was a petition in 2016 to the Maple Ridge mayor and council, started by a Carly O’Rourke. It stated: “Climate change, peak oil and the need for sustainable food lands are major reasons to protect and maintain the Agricultural Land Reserve for future needs.”

Nothing has changed since then. Say no to the application to exclude this land from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Greater Vancouver Regional District, and the City of Maple Ridge helped support a survey done on its ALR farmlands (2011) and published the report “Strengthening Farming Program.”

This report provides the necessary background to understand the current status of agriculture on the land base and help make informed decisions on how to best manage the agricultural land base in order to support and strengthen farming in the future.

It is inconceivable to me that it would even be considered to pave over and exclude designated prime agricultural land for the purpose of monetary gain and corporate greed.

A hotel and film studio? An industrial park? Inconceivable.

Where does the Agricultural Advisory Committee sit on this issue? Does the city’s Agricultural Plan (created to help guide the long term vision of local agriculture) include the paving over of rich fertile soil?

Council has the authority to reject the applications outright and not forward the applications to the commission. Do the right thing for our sustainable food lands. Vote no to the applications.

Charlene Fiehn

Maple Ridge

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