ARMS president Ken Stewart and director John Dale on the banks of the Alouette River where the subdivision is proposed. (Neil Corbett/The News)

Maple Ridge hosts public hearing on riverfront development tonight

ARMS, Katzie First Nation and many others oppose subdivision

The second public hearing on a contentious residential development on the South Alouette River flood plain happens tonight (Tuesday) online.

The virtual hearing hosted by the City of Maple Ridge at 7 p.m. is sure to hear strident opposition to the 26-home development in the 12500 block of 240th Street.

The Alouette River Management Society (ARMS) will have at least eight speakers, and possibly many more, said society president Ken Stewart. According to the city’s rules for public hearings, each person will be able to speak three times, for five minutes.

He has been informed that many members of the general public who are not part of local conservation groups also intend to speak.

“The average person understands these lands along the river are important – that’s why there’s 100 people registered for tonight,” said Stewart.

Members of the public can watch the meeting live streamed on the city website, and also register and speak at the public hearing.

ARMS fears allowing this development will set a precedent for more like it. Four properties are being combined into an 8.2 hectare site. It would normally accommodate six or eight houses, according to ARMS, but the developer has applied to re-zone and increase density to allow 26 houses.

Stewart said the hydrology of the river will be impacted, as well as an important wildlife corridor.

“The only person benefiting is the developer,” he said.

The development has also been opposed by Katzie First Nation, who have accused the city of not consulting them. The band has said they will voice opposition to the project to senior government.

READ ALSO: Katzie First Nation accuses Maple Ridge of bad faith engagement

The city staff report said the application is supportable because:

• The property will be serviceable by city sewers, so there is no requirement for lot sizes to remain 0.4 hectares in size.

• Environmentally sensitive areas are being dedicated for public park land.

• The development will integrate site preparation for the future 240th Street Bridge at “significant cost savings to the municipality.”

The development has already been through a public hearing, and for three hours people mostly spoke against the plan in April of 2019.

READ ALSO: Maple Ridge public hearing blasts housing plan near river

It was ready for final approval by council, but the process was walked back after bylaw amendments, requiring a new public hearing.

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