Josine Eikelenboom has lived on 124th Street in rural Maple Ridge for more than 30 years and shudders at the thought of dump trucks rolling down her street should a proposed gravel pit be approved next door to her farm, Westacres. But what concerns her most is the fate of Coho Creek, which runs through both properties.
Close to 10 years ago, Eikelenboom placed the creek under the protection of The Land Conservancy of B.C., preventing any future development within 30 metres of the water course on her property.
However, while the portion of the creek on her property is protected, the portion next door is not.
While the gravel pit itself will be located 100 metres away from Coho Creek, a driveway across the creek would have to be upgraded, which “would include loss of riparian habitat.”
However, the creek would be restored to its original condition.
According to Eikelenboom, the creek is home to small coho and other fish, along with ducks and birds.
“Over the more than 30 years that we have lived here, we have done everything to respect the land,” she said.
“A gravel pit so close will do serious damage to my land and its streams.”
The 15-hectare property located in between 236th Street and 124th Avenue is co-owned by Donada Industries, Rae Glenn Industrial Dev. and Earl Bremner.
David Laird of Damax Consultants, which is developing the site, said earlier the property would be restored to farm use after 400,000 cu. metres of gravel are removed, with mining expected to take two to three years.
As part of the remediation work, top soil would be brought in to make the area suitable for future agricultural uses.
However, the thought of the disruption to the neighbourhood during those two to three years of mining Eikelenboom considers “horrific.”
She is also the head of the Maple Ridge Music Society, and has been holding concerts at her Westacres farm for years and wonders if they could continue with dump trunks driving by.
The open gravel pit itself would be 6.3 hectares in size, with an average depth of 15 metres. Trucks would use 124th Avenue connecting to 232nd Street to access the mine.
Laird added that there is no intent on developing the land for houses, which would require removal of the land from the Agricultural Land Reserve.
The gravel pit proposal will go to Maple Ridge council in September, who will decide whether to forward the application for a non-farm use to the Agricultural Land Commission.
Eikelenboom wants Maple Ridge council to deny the application given the effect it will have on the surrounding residential neighbourhood and the environment.
“I’m afraid if the municipality sends this on [to the ALC], it will say [to the ALC] that municipality agrees with [the project],” she said.
Wendy Blatta, lives on 236A Street will be at the Sept. 10 committee of the whole meeting, when the proposal will come before council. She’s concerned about the disruption, dust and drop in property values from the gravel extraction and from trucks rumbling down residential roads.