Get going on Albion flats, says Maple Ridge councillor

District of Maple Ridge coun. Cheryl Ashlie wants to see progress on the tracts of undeveloped land in Albion

Albion flats is back on Maple Ridge council’s agenda Jan. 23

Albion flats is back on Maple Ridge council’s agenda Jan. 23

Albion flats is back on Maple Ridge council’s agenda Jan. 23, when district staff will lay out some options, based on the Agricultural Land Commission’s feedback from late last year.

Coun. Cheryl Ashlie wants to see some progress and, if necessary, is willing to spend some dollars to advance the project so a formal exclusion application goes to the commission by April at the latest.

“I want to make sure we’re looking at avenues of expediting things,” she said.

If that means contracting out services so a good plan is developed months sooner than normal, she’s willing to do that.

“It’s been too long,” she said. “Let’s just get at it.”

District staff are analyzing December’s comments from the land commission on the district’s draft plan that called for developing all of Albion flats, on both sides of 105th Avenue, along Lougheed Highway.

The commission said it would support development only of the east side of 105th Ave. because land on the west was still capable of being farmed.

“I would expect all options to be brought to council with staff recommendations as to where we should go based on their analysis of it all.”

Ashlie said once the district finalizes its plan, likely a mix of commercial, recreation and light industrial, it will submit the application to the land commission. Rezoning would then follow, if the land exclusion application is approved.

After that, it’s up to land owners to build along those lines.

“We’re at a point now where they should be part of the conversation.”

Ashlie said she wants the Albion area resolved because in last November’s election voters told them they wanted quicker decisions.

The future of Albion flats has been discussed for a decade.

Administrator Jim Rule however said it’s important that planning is well done, while public works GM Frank Quinn pointed out that council submitted its plan in May to the ALC and didn’t hear back until December.

Coun. Judy Dueck said the district has to meet with the property owners to get their input before any recommendations are made.

“Without their input, how are you going to make recommendations?”

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