Maple Ridge council cool on riverfront modulars

Under the new proposal, lots would be even smaller than R3 zoned lots as found in Albion.

Harvey Gigun doesn't like proposal for modular homes near South Alouette River.

Harvey Gigun doesn't like proposal for modular homes near South Alouette River.

A proposal to build modular homes along the South Alouette River was back on Monday, with some modifications. But Maple Ridge council didn’t want to hear about it.

Four property owners want to build the homes on five properties at 240th Street and 124th Avenue and first made their proposal last September.

While the application was rejected last year by staff, council of the day asked the developers to revise the proposal, and come up with ideas for creating parks, in return for allowing high densities in a rural area.

The proposal came back with fewer numbers of homes, from 166 to 131, with the homes now two storeys high, to comply with flood control requirements. However, that obviates one of the original features of the development, which was to provide rancher style, one-level accessible homes to attract seniors.

Under the new proposal, lots would be even smaller than R3 zoned lots as found in Albion.

However, they’d be built using Saferhomes Standards, which allows for wheelchair access inside. The houses would be sold based on market demand, rather than attempting to provide affordable housing.

Council, at its committee meeting, sent on the application to a regular council meeting without hearing a presentation from the applicant, architect Wayne Bissky.

“What the council decided unanimously was there was no need for us to listen to the proposal,” said Coun. Gordy Robson, who chaired the meeting.

Robson said he asked all the councillors and none wanted to hear a presentation.

“I guess we could have listened and wasted his time and ours.”

It’s outside the urban boundary, Robson added.

Bissky said he’s never been refused a chance to speak.

“I’ve never seen that before. I was sort of dumbfounded.”

He said he just wanted to give a brief update to council.

“We understand it’s a controversial application. Sometimes new ideas can be very good ideas.”

Council, last September, asked for clarity on the number of homes that would be affordable for rental, whether for seniors or not, transit service, clarification about flood plain issues, and a report on how allowing development there could affect other land considered estate suburban.

The revised proposal states that 57,445 cubic metres would be hauled on to the site in order to raise the building site by three metres for flood protection. That’s the equivalent of 8,200 dump truck loads.

Nearby resident Harvey Gigun hopes that council will reject the project when it gets to regular council.

The current council doesn’t seem to want to touch the proposal, he said.

“That’s hopeful.”

Staff said previously that allowing urbanization of areas in north Maple Ridge would mean Thornhill, the area east of 248th Street, would no longer be the next area for suburban expansion. Development also would take a hopscotch pattern.

When the 2006 official community plan was being written, “significant dialogue” took place over what would be next area for suburban growth and Thornhill, rather than areas to the north, would be the next area once Maple Ridge’s population hit 100,000.