THE NEWS/files                                Participants in a Watershed Watch event paddle along the Katzie Slough from the Kennedy Road Pump Station in Pitt Meadows in April.

THE NEWS/files Participants in a Watershed Watch event paddle along the Katzie Slough from the Kennedy Road Pump Station in Pitt Meadows in April.

Council hears competing interests for Pitt Meadows water

Farms or fish? Conservationists and farmers offer viewpoints

An estimated 100 Pitt Meadows farmers told city hall Tuesday they need to be made a priority when it comes to drainage and irrigation of their crops.

But environmental groups also talked about the need to protect fish habitat.

Pitt Meadows council’s engagement and priorities committee hosted a meeting called Farming, Diking, Watercourses and Wetlands in Pitt Meadows at the South Bonson Community Centre.

They got a bigger response than expected, and organizers had to keep adding chairs to the hall.

Dan Kosicki, of Meadows Landscape Supply, estimated that more than 100 of those in attendance were there to represent the interest of farmers.

“There were multiple generations, and they were all very concerned,” he said. “They listened and were respectful, but they are very concerned.”

Kosicki said Pitt Meadows farmers are farming some of the most expensive farmland in North America, but face increased pressures.

He said creating habitat for salmon in Katzie Slough and other tributaries will be problematic for farmers, particularly during drought cycles.

“It opens too many doors for regulation. We need our water when we need it,” he said, whether that be frost protection, irrigation or flooding fields to harvest cranberries.

He said environmental groups don’t have the same personal stake as farmers.

“They have no skin in the game,” he said.

“You want to save farmland? Save the farmer,” he said. “If it’s (a waterway) inside the protected dike, let us manage our resources.”

Lina Azeez of the Watershed Watch Salmon Society, said she appreciated the opportunity to present an alternative view of the sloughs, which she sees as critical salmon habitat.

Some farmers, she said, would rather there were no fish in the sloughs.

With drought conditions and climate change, “we spoke to a need to collaborate.”

“I’m glad the city decided to have the meeting. It’s good for staff and council to understand more than one perspective when it comes to water,” she said. “We can work in a way that benefits both.”

“We need a healthy environment, clean water and good soils for farming, and we need those for fish too,” she said.

“We need to look at doing things differently – doing things the same way isn’t helping.”

The Alouette River Management Society and Pitt Meadows Environmental Network were among the presenters.

Mayor Bill Dingwall said it was a good turnout, and the city heard feedback for almost three hours.

“There are some competing interests there,” he said, noting people on all sides were worried, but respectful.

He noted 80 per cent of the land in Pitt Meadows is in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

“There are so many pressures on the farming community, including land costs and regulations,” he said. “These are real, live concerns.”

He said city staff will summarize the comments and make recommendations.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Food For The Soul Project Society raised $4,960 during the Coldest Night of the Year event on Feb. 20. (Coldest Night of the Year/Special to The News)
Maple Ridge charity raises thousands at Coldest Night of the Year walk

Food For The Soul Project Society raised $4,960 for their food program

COVID-19. (Pixabay)
Seven Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows schools exposed to COVID-19 in two weeks

Fairview elementary most recently added to list

A scratch was visible on Bryson Belmas’ neck after an incident at school. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge mother says school not doing enough for bullied son

Ashley Belmas meeting with school officials at Laity View Elementary on Tuesday, Mar. 2

The group opposing CP Rail’s proposed logistics park in Pitt Meadows has gathered signs and other materials to rally opposition. (Special to The News)
Pitt Meadows challenges CP’s process for choosing logistics park site

Site evaluation was ‘fundamentally flawed in its methodology’ asserts city

A group of tenancy advocates picketed outside the home of CWI managing principal, Bill Mitsui on Saturday, Feb 27. (Special to The News)
Housing advocates picket outside West Vancouver home of Maple Ridge apartment building landlord

Joyce Lachance said her son was unfairly evicted from Cityviews Village in February

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains discovery a reminder of B.C. Indigenous culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

A memorial to Hudson Brooks outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment. (File photo)
Surrey officer who fatally shot Hudson Brooks recounts ‘absolutely terrifying’ incident

Const. Elizabeth Cucheran testified at coroner’s inquest Tuesday morning

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read