Maple Ridge conservation group frustrated with lack of communication by city

ARMS concerned proposed development along Alouette River will go to fourth reading

Alouette River Management Society is concerned about housing proposal. (THE NEWS/files)

The Alouette River Management Society is frustrated they have heard nothing from the city about what is happening with a proposed residential development along the banks of the river.

“We’ve heard nothing,” said executive director of the local conservation group Greta Borick-Cunningham.

A letter was sent June 16 from ARMS president Ken Stewart addressed to the City of Maple Ridge mayor, councillors and CAO Al Horseman, asking where they were at in the process, but they have heard nothing back.

Specifically they wanted to know the city’s response following the submission of Eyford Partners solicitor Nathalie Baker’s legal opinion regarding the city’s handling of the development application – an opinion submitted on behalf of ARMS.

“We expected to get some response either way from the city’s solicitors back to our solicitors so we kind of knew did they agree or not agree with the contents of that letter,” explained Borick-Cunningham.

But, again, they heard nothing.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge conservation group takes legal action against city

Borick-Cunningham is concerned that it is now going on nine months that the city received their lawyer’s letter and they have had no response.

“We don’t know whether the city’s lawyers have discussed anything with the Mayor and council about this. What their recommendations are,” said Borick-Cunningham.

And she feels that the community deserves to know what the City of Maple Ridge’s legal advice is to the mayor and council on this issue based on their lawyer’s critique of that proposal’s process. Especially after a huge turnout to a public hearing that took place early last year.

The city, though, said they are unable to comment.

“As this item is a legal matter, the City and/or Mayor and Council are unable to engage or respond to any related inquiries,” wrote Tracy Camire, with the City of Maple Ridge, in an email on behalf of Mayor Mike Morden.

Right now ARMS is waiting for the “shoe to drop”, said Borick-Cunningham.

READ MORE: Cocooning pays dividends for local environmental group

“Either for best case scenario that the entire residential proposal is pulled and is not given fourth reading. Or it is sent back to the application process where they’ve found fault where the application process erred and then to redo those steps again and to go to another public hearing,” she noted.

However Borick-Cunningham and her team at ARMS are preparing for the worst case scenario – if the proposal goes through to a fourth reading, which would trigger ARMS to demand a judicial review.

They are currently raising money for their legal fees through their Save Our Salmon campaign, fees that are expected to cost the group upwards of $60,000.

So far they have raised about $31,000.

And they are calling on the city for full transparency.

“ARMS Board of Directors is officially asking that the city and our elected officials disclose the city’s legal response to the legal claims put forth by Ms. Baker on behalf of ARMS, prior to moving the application to 4th reading, as we believe it is a matter of public trust,” concluded Stewart in his letter to the city.

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