New suburb is suburban sprawl: Maple Ridge councillor

Council gave third reading to the development of 91 acreage homes on 269th Street in east Maple Ridge.

One Maple Ridge councillor voted against a new suburb last week, calling the proposal sprawl.

Council gave third reading to the development of 91 acreage homes on 269th Street in east Maple Ridge.

The proposal is simply urban sprawl, Coun. Corisa Bell said Wednesday.

“I just think it’s absolutely incredible that we’re approving this development.”

The 162 acres are one of the last major pieces of property vacant for such development and will go next to existing neighbourhoods of the same type.

Creus Engineering, on behalf of a numbered company (640724 B.C. Inc.), wants to rezone the site to allow the new acreages, which will have septic fields for sewage treatment. Metro Vancouver municipal water is available nearby, preventing any requirement for drawing from the groundwater supply for domestic water.

The proposal has been revised and downsized since it was first before council last year.

Now, 61 acres of land will be allotted to streamside protection, including the main stems of Cooper and McFadden creeks, both of which contain fish. Five other tributaries to McFadden Creek are also on the property. Three new wetlands areas will be created during construction that will trap rain runoff and biofiltrate it before it’s discharged into nearby streams.

Mayor Ernie Daykin said acreage lots are consistent with the type of development that’s taken place in eastern Maple Ridge for years.

“If it was urban development outside the urban boundary (approximately 248th Street) – big problem.

“This is rural development, to rural standards.”

With Metro Vancouver water nearby, and use of septic systems, infrastructure costs to the municipality will be minimized.

A study on measures that will be taken to trap stormwater runoff from roofs and driveways will be verified by a third party to ensure it’s accurate, he added.

Coun. Bob Masse said he weighed the pros and cons and supported the new suburb, although he wants a pedestrian path built on 269th Street to help people cope with the increased traffic the development will bring, and says the developer should pay for improved street lighting.

He agreed that infrastructure costs would be minimized and said there’s already a fire hall on 272nd Street and that local schools have capacity.

But, “I think, by definition, that is urban sprawl and I wouldn’t argue with the negative connotation.”

However, the expensive homes will attract higher income residents to Maple Ridge, he added. “That brings something to the economy of the community too.”

But Bell says that suburb will be built in dense (second-growth) forest with abundant wildlife.

“The rest of the community will now be subsidizing this development because these million-dollar homes are not going to pay for (services) themselves by their taxes. So the taxpayers of the community are going to subsidize this development.”

The development will be located next to existing acreages and will be accessed by extending 269th and 271st streets northward.

The staff report also says that the type of housing proposed fits with the designation on the area that’s in the official community plan.

Bell pointed out existing residents nearby can’t even get a sidewalk to protect them from growing traffic and says the district should review its OCP as well as its development policies.

The site also lies within what could become Maple Ridge’s wildfire development permit area, requiring use of fire-retarding and construction practices.

However, that permit area isn’t yet in effect, although there are some fire-proofing steps that have to be followed.