The District of Maple Ridge is currently crafting an environmental management strategy.

The District of Maple Ridge is currently crafting an environmental management strategy.

Greens like Maple Ridge enviro plan

Environment management strategy recommends the creation of a citizens' advisory committee

A plan being crafted to ensure ecosystems and the natural beauty of Maple Ridge are protected as the district grows was welcomed by environmentalists Monday.

Council’s workshop was packed to capacity, with people squeezed into doorways as council got an update from consultant Catherine Berris on an environmental management strategy.

It’s been a year since the project was first floated and a draft plan should be completed in a month. The consultants are recommending an environmental advisory committee to ensure the plan is being followed.

Coun. Al Hogarth welcomed the committee’s creation but noted there was no mentioned of land owners or developers sitting on it.

“I still believe in that three-legged stool,” said Hogarth.

“If you don’t have the social, economic and environmental working together, it won’t work.”

Hogarth and his colleague Mike Morden renewed calls for a review of the district’s stream protection regulation.

“I have clients and friends who have been affected,” said Hogarth, noting the district has never done a review to ensure its stream protection regulations actually work.

In 2005, Maple Ridge decided to keep its streamside protection bylaw, developed in consultation with the federal and provincial government and environmental groups.

Those rules usually require any developments to be set back up to 30 metres from stream banks.

But other municipalities adopted riparian area regulations, for which environmental consultants, hired by developers, decide the distance a development is allowed from streams.

Maria Raynolds lauded the prospect of an environmental committee.

“We have wanted it for decades, she said.

“As for the three-legged stool, this committee is to strengthen the  wobbly leg which we have had for 40 years,” Raynolds added.

“We have an economic advisory committee, a social committee but we have never had an environmental committee. It should not be the function of this committee to look at the economics.”