A 62-acre parcel of land that used to be part of the Pelton tree nursery in the northwest corner of Maple Ridge has a new owner.
The property at 12987 – 210th St., adjacent to Golden Ears Way, used to be part of the Pelton Reforestation tree nursery.
The new owner is a numbered B.C. company with Luigi Aquilini listed as director, and with the same Vancouver address as the Aquilini Investment Group, which owns the Vancouver Canucks.
“We’re still working through a bunch of things and there will be more changes, I’m assuming, to come over the next little while,” said Chris Rounding, who represents the Pelton family.
“It’s not really finished. Until it’s all done, I don’t want to say a lot about it.”
Matthew Laity, who runs a heritage dairy farm nearby, said representatives from the Aquilini group met with him and his dad and also offered to buy one of the family’s properties, 34 acres adjacent to the Pelton property on 132nd Avenue and 210th Street.
“It’s a fairly large piece. It’s a 34-acre piece that we own,” Laity said.
“They’re interested, yes.”
The Laity land is currently used for grazing for the farm’s 100 dairy cows.
Laity said the offer was a good one, but the family wants to keep farming as it has been doing since 1879.
“We’re not looking to sell.”
He added that farming in an urban area always brings pressures.
“We get pressure from all different sources. Farming in the suburbs is difficult sometimes.”
But Laity said people want him to keep farming. The operation is adjacent to Maple Ridge’s western suburbs.
“I do feel supported in the community, for sure, to keep farming. But farming in the community does have its challenges.
“Got a lot of neighbours.”
And now there is more commuting traffic, using 128th Avenue, which is in the process of being expanded to four lanes.
The Pelton family, in 2010, attempted to have 160 acres released from the Agricultural Land Reserve, for the purposes of employment, farming and community recreation. But that application was rejected by the Agricultural Land Commission.
Maple Ridge Coun. Craig Speirs said he’ll support any agricultural use for the Pelton property. And if the property already has greenhouses on it, “I don’t assume they’ll be throwing away greenhouses.”
But Speirs said he’d oppose any conversion of the Pelton lands for industrial use.
“It’s Grade 1, class one farmland.”