Graphic shows public feedback. (Special to The News)

Graphic shows public feedback. (Special to The News)

Pitt Meadows takes stock of environment in the city

Council passes new Environmental Inventory and Management Strategy

The City of Pitt Meadows has a new Environmental Inventory and Management Strategy.

Once it has been reviewed by both the Katzie First Nation and the city’s own Agricultural Advisory Committee, the bulky 350-page document will inform future council decisions, and be considered at budget time.

The environmental inventory looks at the city’s natural assets, how they are valuable, and how to protect them, in a report prepared by consultant Dr. Heather Bears of Zoetica Environmental Consulting Services.

It makes numerous, specific recommendations. These include having developer incentives to protect sensitive areas, working with landowners to improve fish passage and habitat, and requiring compensation for tree removal within natural areas.

“What you’ve done is provide us with a great base tool, somewhat of a road map, that doesn’t have a timeline on it, but does have a spirit behind it that will hopefully get us to a better place,” said Mayor Bill Dingwall of the strategy.

He noted the Metro regional district has been investing heavily in Pitt Meadows park lands, and eventually, the Metro park holdings alone will be larger than the entire Stanley Park land base.

“That’s pretty impressive, and that feeds right into this report, around protection our environment and all the species that go along with that,” added Dingwall.

READ ALSO: Metro expands park land in Pitt Meadows by 73 hectares

The consultant got public feedback, hearing concerns that Katzie Slough and Alouette River have both been degraded and need management attention to restore their ecological value. It also heard concerns about invasive species, and how new developments could impact natural assets.

Coun. Nicole MacDonald said the report talks about the need to preserve farmland and waterways, and asked for comment about loss of 100 acres of farmland to industry – the CP Rail Logistics Park.

Bears said she is conducting a technical review of the rail project for Kwikwetlem First Nation, so declined to comment.

The inventory noted 40 per cent of the habitat in the city, both land and water, is agricultural, and that while farmers value a clean natural environment, they don’t want measures to impact agriculture.

The city will refer the strategy to the Katzie First Nation, and the Agricultural Advisory Committee for input on the recommended actions and initiatives.

“The AAC did participate in the engagement process; however, as landowners and managers of large areas of Pitt Meadows, and as the current stewards and co-stewards of several natural assets within the city (e.g., agricultural soils and rural watercourses), successful management efforts will require collaboration with agricultural producers,” advised the report.

READ ALSO: LETTER: Maple Ridge resident backs MP’s mandate stance

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