The man who proposed building a chicken barn for his wife’s east Maple Ridge property is now running for council, with one of his main ideas being the removal of more land from the Agricultural Land Reserve.
“I strongly believe that unusable, unfarmable land from the ALR, should be and must be, excluded and use that land for development,” said Andrew Pozsar.
He explained that he wanted land that’s not currently being used to grow a crop or is unsuited for farming to be used for industrial and commercial purposes, and some residential.
“And with that, we can actually reduce the residential taxes.”
Pozsar, last year, proposed building a 20,000 sq. ft., two-storey chicken barn on his wife’s ALR property on 250th Street, just north of Dewdney Trunk Road. But his neighbours strongly opposed that idea, after he sought their opinion, so he scratched that in March 2017.
In May of this year, his wife sought to exclude that property from the ALR to allow a nine-lot residential development, but Maple Ridge council refused to forward the application to the Agricultural Land Commission.
Pozsar said house prices and rents, with a vacancy rate of about zero, are unaffordable.
“We have all this useless land in the ALR, doing absolutely nothing.”
He added that he was talking about unproductive land, saying that constitutes most of the land in the ALR.
He also said that city property taxes on homes could drop with more industrial land taxation available, although one doesn’t necessarily follow the other.
Pozsar said he supports growing marijuana in ALR lands that are not currently being farmed instead of converting productive food operations.
Commuting is another of his concerns. The transit system is “laughable,” said Pozsar, who is legally blind.
He points out it takes an hour to get from Maple Ridge into Vancouver on the West Coast Express, working out to a speed of about 35 kilometres an hour. Twenty years ago, he was taking bullet trains in Japan.
He also favours the city getting an injunction to remove Anita Place Tent City on 223rd Street, “to the full extent of the law.
“I think it’s time for the city to reclaim that property. The park is for everybody, not just a few.”
There any others who need help, as well, he said.
“There’s a lot of people in need.”