Albion gets new homes, field lights

Proposal still awaits final reading for 68 homes near ball fields

  • May. 26, 2015 7:00 a.m.

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Providing there’s no outrage at the public hearing to a housing proposal, Maple Ridge will get $210,800 to help pay for the cost of lighting the last unlit ball field at Albion Sports Complex.

As well, life will get easier for some fish and frogs because of improvements to Spencer and Mainstone creeks, if third reading is given to rezoning 13 acres at the southwest corner of Slatford Place and 104th Avenue.

Both contributions are part of the deal worked out between the developer and the city, allowing 68 homes to be built next to the recreational area.

The money is a voluntary contribution based on $3,100 per lot that a developer would pay to increase the normal density of a subdivision under the Albion density plan.

The developer is voluntarily paying that amount because the urban boundary was changed to allow the homes. The community plan was also changed to allow for residential building.

The property was excluded from the Agricultural Land Reserve in 1998 and rezoning had been sought in 2012.

Council, at its May 12 meeting, had four options for spending the money: lighting the sport field; despot into a fund for a future new Albion community centre; building change rooms at Albion Sports Complex; or building a washroom.

A new Albion hall is a priority after the old one was torn down in 2010, and there’s already $290,000 saved for that purpose.

Installing the lighting on the new field will be a priority in order to get them in before homes are built,  so residents know where they’re buying. The recreation department has been trying to complete the lighting project for 15 years.

A report points out that three channels of Spencer Creek traverse the property. As one of the conditions of development, Spencer and Mainstone creeks will be improved, relocated to create better fish habitat. Both are fish-bearing and provide winter living areas for salmon.

Currently, the banks on those streams are too steep, having been turned into drainage ditches, and the water is stagnant and silty.

Adding trees to the areas beside the creeks will improve conditions for red-legged frogs – an at-risk species – while stream conditions for fish will also be improved, including an area kitty corner to the actual development.

Part of the land will also be given to the city for creation of a park.

Ross Davies, with the Kanaka Education and Environmental Partnership Society, wasn’t familiar with the specifics of the development, but knows the general area.

“It’s one of those rare cases where they could probably improve it, just because the wave of development has come and gone. Those creeks have been channelized [turned into a ditch] way back when, so whatever they do can be positive.

“It’s nice to see them incorporate the creeks so it’s just a sign of how things have changed.”