Maple Ridge housing plan riles residents

‘128th Avenue needs to be widened, says local realtor and Fern Crescent resident John Dale.

Resident Harvey Gigun says the proposal will have vehicle entry and exit directly on to Fern Crescent on a blind curve.

Resident Harvey Gigun says the proposal will have vehicle entry and exit directly on to Fern Crescent on a blind curve.

After making a plea to keep 168 modular homes from being built in the area, long-time residents are now battling another plan to put in 34 homes on leafy Fern Crescent, running along the South Alouette River.

“We’re objecting to the level of density they’re proposing for this area,” said resident Harvey Gigun.

“What we’re saying is the official community plan is out of date.”

Gigun wants the city to reconsider the proposal and reduce the density of the project proposed for lots at 24005, 24009 and 24075 Fern Crescent.

However, the developer has already reduced the number of units from 44 to 34.

Gigun says the proposal will have vehicle entry and exit directly on to Fern Crescent on a blind curve. That could create dangerous driving conditions as newcomers file on to the busy road that leads to Golden Ears Provincial Park, one of the busiest parks in the province, serving the huge Metro Vancouver area.

Residents have already told the city how they feel at an earlier public hearing.

Local realtor and Fern Crescent resident John Dale said the city is ignoring the Silver Valley area plan, which includes the area proposed for development.

For one, the plan calls for schools to anchor the four hamlets in Silver Valley around which neighbourhoods will be clustered.

“If the hamlet is not going to be centred on an elementary school, then the OCP should be amended,” Dale said in an address to council.

With provincial funding restraints, it’s not certain when or if a school will be built in Silver Valley.

Dale also said there have been no transportation improvements made in recent years while the 3,500 sq.-ft lots aren’t suitable for the area. Other developments nearby, such as Rock Ridge or Balsam Creek, have less density and larger lots.

At the least, Dale said 128th Avenue needs to be widened so that residential traffic can be routed off Fern Crescent which he said carries more than 600,000 vehicles yearly to the park. The road is deteriorating, he added.

“I have walked, biked, hitchhiked and driven Fern Crescent hundreds of times. Fern does not even begin to meet the criteria for an arterial or collector route …”

Council will deal with the proposal at future meeting.