Annette LeBox and former NDP MLA Michael Sather oppose the land being removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve. (THE NEWS/files)

Two applications at Maple Ridge city hall for farmland removal

Proposals are to exclude property for business park development

Two applications been filed with the City of Maple Ridge to remove prominent properties along 128th Avenue from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Golden Eagle Farm Group wants to remove 56 acres of farmland at the site of a former tree nursery at the corner of 203rd Street and Golden Ears Way, with the intent of building a business park.

Davison Farms has also applied to have 44 acres of its land excluded on 128th Avenue at 220th Street.

Golden Eagle, part of the Aquilini Investment Group, held a public information open house in February and is now suggesting a food co-packing operation be a priority tenant in the proposed business park.

A suggestion from the public input would be using the adjacent farmland to produce the same products that would be sold in the farm market and food hub that’s also part of the proposal.

That could increase agri-tourism in the area, Aquilini Group vice-president Jim Chu said on Friday.

“We hope common sense prevails and that something that is good for farming and is good for the economy, will be approved,” Chu added.

The company’s willing to sign covenants assuring that all the features would be part of the development.

“If they want legal undertakings, we will provide them,” Chu said.

In exchange for removing 56 acres from the ALR, Golden Eagle is proposing to add 56 acres of land it that already owns in Pitt Meadows, at the north end of Neaves Road, into the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Golden Eagle Farm Group initially proposed removing 202 acres at 203rd Street and Golden Ears Way.

“We are trading in better quality land and asking to remove damaged, lower quality land,” Chu said.

The group wants to develop those 56 acres, used for a greenhouse operation before, into a business park, which could include a film studio and hotel, while using the remaining 146 acres for either field or greenhouse farming.

Both applications have been filed with the city and are expected to get to council at its June 12 meeting. Council has the authority to reject the applications outright and not forward the applications to the commission, or forward the applications with comments, and let the commission decide.

Chu said the Golden Eagle application is unique because it’s a small percentage of the land it is already farming.

“The remaining lands we have, we’re committed to agriculture.”

Kevin Davison, with Davison Farms, said the application to remove 40 acres along 128th Avenue was filed with the city about a month ago.

The dairy farm currently has 300 cattle and borders on suburban areas. Davison said the family wants to move the operation to the Interior, where there’s more land.

“We’d like to get the farm out of the city is what we’d like to do, and get into more of a farming area,” he said.

The Davisons have been farming there since 1900. But the farm is now close to a residential area and people complain to the city about the smell of manure spreading.

“We’re just giving the city another option to look at.”

Wayne Jackson is handling the application for the Davisons and said the family has been thinking about relocating for a couple of years.

“We want Maple Ridge to know there are other properties that we feel are better suited for business park to serve Maple Ridge.”

He said the Davison property is more centrally located than the Golden Eagle property.

“My point is, if you’re building a business park, build it where people need it.”

Annette LeBox, a farmland advocate, has opposed previous exclusion proposals and opposes both current applications.

“But I still have faith that the new chair of the ALC will turn it down.”

She added that farmland has to be preserved, especially in light of the effects of climate change, which has produced ongoing drought in California.

A previous application by previous owners of the Golden Eagle property was refused by the Agricultural Land Commission in 2010.

In 2013, the Golden Eagle property was included on a list for possible removal from the ALR in a city report.

Just Posted

Burrards named to Warriors opening roster

Five Maple Ridge WLA players make the Vancouver NLL team

Pitt Meadows approves hiring two more career firefighters

Will fit into 5.75 per cent tax increase, says CAO

Attempt to speed access to treatment in Maple Ridge

Alouette Addictions will be central referral agency.

Albion Community Centre tab almost doubles

Site costs add $5 million to Maple Ridge building

UPDATED: Absolute discharge for mischief charge against Sagmoen

Trial starts at 9:30 a.m. in Vernon Law Courts

Ridge hospital foundation helps with mental health

Donates a possible $500k for youth wellness

Sissons scores OT winner as Predators beat Canucks 4-3

VIDEO: Vancouver battles back to earn single point in Nashville

Lions announce seven members of coaching staff not coming back for 2019

The operational moves come two days after the Lions announced DeVone Claybrooks as the team’s new head coach

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Coach accused of sexual assault says apology letter was misinterpreted

Dave Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching

Give the gift of nature this holiday season

Please don’t be mad, but I bought you a moose

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

Metro Vancouver mayors vote to ‘develop’ $1.65B in Fraser Highway SkyTrain plans

Surrey will have to ‘compensate’ for the $56 million already spent on light rail

Some Kotex tampons recalled in Canada and U.S.

In some cases, tampon users sought medical attention “to remove tampon pieces left in the body.”

Most Read