Cheryl Ashlie, president of ARMS, announced the new legal challenge and fundraising campaign in November. (Neil Corbett – THE NEWS)

Cheryl Ashlie, president of ARMS, announced the new legal challenge and fundraising campaign in November. (Neil Corbett – THE NEWS)

Top Stories 2019: Conservation group raises $16,000 to take on City of Maple Ridge

The Alouette River Management Society opposes a city approved development near the river

A local conservation group has raised more than $16,000 – a fraction of the total goal – to take legal action against the City of Maple Ridge over a proposed riverfront development on the South Alouette River

The Alouette River Management Society announced the launch of its Save Our Salmon campaign in November with a goal to raise $60,000 to cover the cost of legal fees.

The organization is fighting the city’s approval of a 26-home development near the river.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge council proceeds with riverfront subdivision

Some donors are reluctant to face off against the city, but the organization has been averaging about $500 in donations each week, said Cheryl Ashlie, ARMS president.

“We keep having to educate people that this is not a court case … it’s a judicial review, it’s a process review,” she said. “Courts don’t get involved in city decisions, but courts will look at and review the process and say, ‘You erred in process, you must go back,’ or, ‘they didn’t err in process.’”

The conservation group wants the city to go back to the public hearing process.

“They haven’t done fourth reading, so because they haven’t done fourth reading, in reality, a decision hasn’t been made, so we gave them that letter upfront trying to impress upon them – because once they giving fourth reading, the development can really start moving ahead and a lot more people then are invested in a financial way,” said Ashlie, a former councillor who is seeking the Liberal nomination in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows provincial riding.

“So we gave them the letter so they knew the foundations of what our argument was in hopes that they would halt moving forward and move it back to public hearing.”

Another developer has also contacted ARMS about a project two sites east of the current proposed plan, Ashlie said.

“This is the flood gate. This is going to ruin the whole waterfront and this goes against everything we should be doing in a flood plain,” she added.