Maple Ridge Albion proposal off to ALC for comment

Scenario 2 calls for development on both sides of 105th Avenue.

Scenario 2 calls for development on both sides of 105th Avenue.

The Agricultural Land Commission will soon have its first look at the draft Albion flats concept plan. Council decided to ship the proposal off this week for comments and request a meeting with the provincial agency. The plan will be accompanied by all staff reports, the Charrette Primer prepared by HB Lanarc, and public feedback received during the planning process and open house on March 30. Couns. Linda King and Craig Speirs welcomed the idea of ALC input, but said they couldn’t support the development of 125 acres along Lougheed Highway, between 240th Street and Tamarack Lane. They both recognized the need for more shopping in the community, but had concerns over where it should be located. Speirs would like to see a plan that preserves agriculture and develops more shopping towards 240th Street. Coun. Cheryl Ashlie felt the ALC submission should also include an explanation of the plan’s economic value to the district. She believes there’s been too much focus on the retail component of the concept, and not enough given to the industrial and employment benefits. “I believe there’s enough evidence that agriculture is hard pressed to exist there. Today that is not viable,” she said, adding that the district needs to try and get the maximum value out of that footprint. About 200 people interested in the Albion flats area attended an information meeting on March 30, with many putting their thoughts in writing on comment sheets. According to a staff report presented to council on Monday, the 182 completed responses showed a division in the community, with 47.2 per cent in support and 47.8 per cent against the land uses shown on the concept plan. Coun. Michael Morden questioned whether the whole community was represented at the open house. Given the public split on proposal, he suggested holding a referendum on the issue during November’s municipal election. “If we’re split and there’s any concern that we may be moving forward and we’re going to split our community and divide it by doing this, then let’s get the mandate from the community,” he said. “I’m in favour, but let’s ask for the final yes.” The development plan calls for big-box stores and a business park on the west side of 105th Avenue and a mix of recreation, light industry and residential on the east side.

See related story: SmartCentres pitches plan to Maple Ridge councillors, here.