Maple Ridge farm could face fine for dumping fill

Neighbours still frustrated by lack of action from district

  • Aug. 31, 2011 6:00 p.m.
The district issued a stop-work order to Cho at the beginning of August after he was found working within a 30-metre riparian zone

The district issued a stop-work order to Cho at the beginning of August after he was found working within a 30-metre riparian zone

District of Maple Ridge staff say the vegetable farmer on 224th Street at the North Alouette River has recently brought in four loads of unauthorized soil or fill material.

But staff add that Hang Cho can continue building berms and roads on his 224th Street property as long as he complies with rules enforced by the provincial Agricultural Land Commission.

The district issued a stop-work order to Cho at the beginning of August after he was found working within a 30-metre riparian zone, meant to protect fish habitat.

He was told to apply for a permit, which would have required him to provide detailed plans and surveys to the district, but has now decided not to make that application.

District staff wouldn’t say what, if any, consequences Cho would face for bringing in the recent four loads.

The Alouette Valley Association and Cho’s neighbours believe the fill being dumped on his property will only exacerbate flooding in the low-lying neighbourhood.

A hydrology study done by the district, released in June, found that “raising or in-filling of land” on the flood plain displaces water and relocates the flooding problem to other properties.

Dian Murrell, who lives across the street from Cho’s property, remains frustrated.

“I think Mr. Cho’s blatant disregard of all rules and regulations has gone far enough,” she said.

With evidence that in-filling exacerbates flooding, neighbours are growing increasingly frustrated with the Agricultural Land Commission and district.

They want work stopped until Cho submits an engineering report to show the fill being dumped on his property won’t affect the area’s hydrology.

Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin is also frustrated, especially with the jurisdiction issues surrounding work being done on Cho’s farm.

The fill dumping to construct roads and berms has been permitted by the Agricultural Land Commission because it is considered a “farm use.”

Daykin said the district will survey Cho’s property to determine where the 30-metre water course setback area begins.

He added the district will continue to monitor the property to make sure there isn’t another violation.

Cho didn’t return phone calls.