Questions linger on Maple Ridge’s commercial strategy

‘Not clear how to improve taxes’ jobs, says one councillor

After four years of discussion, its’ time to approve Maple Ridge’s commercial-industrial strategy, says Mayor Ernie Daykin.

Council wasn’t ready to OK the strategy Monday. It will return to council June 16 for more discussion.

“I think we need to move forward,” Daykin said.

“Is it perfect? No. And we could be here another five years and not come up with the perfect plan.”

To get the strategy working, an implementation plan proposes five action items: creating a commercial zone at Dewdney Trunk Road and 248th, where a small shopping centre is proposed; and second, creating an incentive plan, through tax breaks or holidays, that will draw businesses to Maple Ridge.

A third step is tweaking regulations for home-based businesses to encourage people to take the plunge and start a business.

Fourth on the list is talking to property and business owners in Albion Industrial Area to see if there are ways of expanding their business, possibly by allowing more commercial opportunities.

The last tactic is studying the feasibility of industrial use for Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure lands on Lougheed Highway, just east of Kanaka Way. The 38 acres are up for sale.

Studies are also proposed for property at 128th Avenue and 232nd Street and for seven acres to the east and 20 acres to the west of Kwantlen First Nations reserve on Lougheed Highway, as well as for the Thornhill urban reserve, the area east of 248th Street.

Thornhill could be used for commercial-industrial purposes, as well as residential.

“Right now, it’s designated urban reserve,” said planning director Christine Carter.

But that can mean either residential or industrial.

Councillors still had questions, however.

Corisa Bell said it was clear previously that the commercial-industrial strategy hadn’t been ready for approval and that council was just considering an implementation plan.

“I really don’t know what to say.

“I’m a little bit frustrated, absolutely. I also think the economic development office should have had a staff member present today,” to explain some items.

And Coun. Bob Masse said it wasn’t clear how the strategy would improve taxes or create jobs.

“I’m not certain this is going to get us where we need to go.”

But senior staff were getting testy with the delays.

“At some point in time, we have to make a decision,” said chief administrator Jim Rule.

Public works general manager Frank Quinn said the intent Monday was to discuss the implementation plan rather than the commercial-industrial strategy itself. However, staff could revisit the strategy if council directed, he added.

The commercial-industrial strategy lists several short-term and long-term steps to spur economic growth.

Short-term: attracting food carts to the downtown make Memorial Peace Park a more lively place; bringing in more sports tournaments, banning big-box stores from industrial zones, encouraging more restaurants on 224th Street, and speeding up extension of Abernethy Way to connect to business parks at the north end of 256th Street.

Long-term: pursuing a West Coast Express station in the Albion Industrial Area, and developing tourism near the former Albion ferry terminal.

TransLink, however, is currently selling the latter.

Other long-term goals are to encourage development of Haney Plaza for mixed residential-commercial use, as well as developing Albion flats, east of 105th Avenue into a business park, next to where Smart Centres is proposing a shopping centre in what’s now the Albion fairgrounds.

Coun. Cheryl Ashlie said some things could be done quickly to speed growth, such as changing bylaws to allow alcohol to be served at downtown sidewalk cafes.

“That should be happening right now. It’s one of those immediate action things that needs to happen,” so people can sit on a sidewalk on a sunny night and enjoy a beer, like in a civilized country, she added.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: fire destroys Pitt Meadows outbuilding

Three RVs are write-offs following Saturday night blaze

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

SHARE: Pre-smoke the sunset illuminated the skies in Pitt Meadows

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Most Read