A petition against Pitt Meadows’ plans to remove a large chunk of farmland from the agricultural reserve has more than 400 signatures and continues to gather steam.
“There are more pouring in daily,” said Banni, a resident of Dorado, a gated community adjacent to the properties in question.
The commission has yet to set a date for making the decision that would pave the way for development on 50.9 hectares (125 acres) of land in the North Lougheed Corridor.
Of the land being considered for development, only around 17.5 hectares (43 acres) are zoned highway commercial.
The remaining 33.1 hectares (81 acres) would have to be removed from the provincially protected land reserve.
The battle between the city and residents who oppose the plan, however, is becoming increasingly bitter, with Banni and her neighbours accusing the city of ignoring their wishes.
Residents who commented on a land use study for the area overwhelmingly supported a concept that set aside 16 hectares (39.5 acres) for farming or other agricultural uses, like a land trust or food processing facility.
Banni claims the city is not forwarding information she submitted to agricultural land commission.
She and other residents also believe there isn’t enough demand in the city to support another shopping centre.
They’ve also asked the city to consider widening Old Dewdney Trunk Road and add a dedicated “farm” lane to help farmers inconvenienced by commuter traffic.
“It appears those suggestions have also fallen on deaf ears at city hall,” said Banni, who has been directing her emails to the city’s mayor, Deb Walters.
Walters, however, assures residents that the city is not hiding opposition to the exclusion application from the commission. And although opponents might beg to differ, she has listened to their concerns.
Walters explained that information received before and up until the public hearing, held in mid-September, was forwarded to the commission, along with the city’s application.
Any petitions or documents received after the public hearing must be mailed directly to the commission.
“You know what the sad thing is, and it’s frustrating for me, is that people think you don’t listen because you disagree with them,” said Walters, adding that councillors have been receiving feedback from other residents who support the application, including farmers.
Council, however, is not unanimous in its support of the application. Walters and councillors Doug Bing, Gwen O’Connell and Tracy Miyashita voted in favour of it, while councillors Bruce Bell, Janis Elkerton and Dave Murray do not support it.