The Katzie First Nation weighed in on a controversial riverfront subdivision on the South Alouette River, opposing the city of Maple Ridge’s final approval of the project.
The 26-home development had been on the agenda for Tuesday night’s council meeting, but the matter was deferred until the May 25 meeting, after the city received the letter.
The Katzie did not provide a copy of the letter to the The News, but issued a statement regarding the city’s plans to allow development on the properties near Meadowridge School, at 12555, 12599 and 12516 240th Street, and 12511 241st Street.
The band offered a brief press release signed by Chief Grace George, saying the Katzie First Nation has informed the city of their concerns.
“Those concerns include a lack of meaningful consultation at the onset of the project and lack of engagement to date, and potential impacts on our Aboriginal rights and title,” said George.
She added the Katzie will offer the city an opportunity to respond before providing more detail about their position to the public.
The Alouette River Management Society (ARMS) has opposed the project, and is ready to commence legal action should council give the bylaws fourth reading and final approval.
ARMS president Ken Stewart was glad to see the Katzie First Nation has joined the fight.
“In general, they are a level of government, and they have to be heard,” said Stewart. “And they have been a good ally of ARMS.”
He said ARMS has not seen a copy of the letter to city hall.
ARMS remains ready for a potential legal fight, based on what it says is a flawed process by city. It has $36,000 in a legal fund for the cause.
The conservation group opposes residential development so close to the river – in the flood plain, saying it could impact the river hydrology and the natural ecosystem. The group, which includes three former city councillors, said approval would be poor public policy, and will trigger applications from developers along the river.
There is no sign that the approval process at city hall has been derailed at this point, said Stewart.
“It’s going to come back to council, so we’re still working on it.”
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