ALC decision lacks integrity

This week’s announcement from the ALC that it has approved the North Lougheed Connector is a blow to agricultural sustainability

Editor, The News:

Re: Pitt farmland OK’d for new road, mall, (The News, Aug. 17.)

This week’s announcement from the Agricultural Land Commission that it has approved the North Lougheed Connector in Pitt Meadows is a blow to agricultural sustainability in Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge and beyond.

The rationale behind the decision lacks integrity.  It makes no sense.

In 2010, the ALC approved the North Lougheed Connector with the condition the land adjacent to the connector be covenanted for agricultural use.

These covenants have never been put in place by the City of Pitt Meadows, yet the ALC has proceeded to remove the land from the ALR.

Clearly, ALC “conditions” were not worth the paper they were written on.

The supposed justification for the NLC is that it will take traffic off Old Dewdney Trunk Road, thereby making it easier for farmers in that area to move their farm equipment.

And yet the city has never expressed any interest in doing what many have suggested, that is, to put traffic-calming devices on Old Dewdney Trunk Road, thereby shifting traffic to Abernethy Way.

Now, however, the city says it wants to put in traffic-calming devices.

But the land commission says it can’t do that because Old Dewdney Trunk Road is part of the major road network and traffic-calming devices are not permitted on major road networks.

However, the poorly written document released by the ALC suggests that, if there is an alternate route, namely the North Lougheed Connector, then it can take the major road network designation off Old Dewdney and put in traffic-calming devices. Those responsible for the decision to allow the North Lougheed Connector, must have sat up long hours concocting this dodge.

Mayor Walters now says the city is going to protect the farmland on the north side of the new connector.

We’ve seen this movie before.  Several years ago, farmland advocates agreed not to oppose the removal of a narrow strip of farmland from the ALR along the north side of Lougheed Highway between Park Road and Harris Road as they were assured there would be no further sprawl north of there.

The ALC didn’t even do its homework.  Its letter says that “20 people were reported to have attended the meeting,” … at Pitt Meadows council on the removal application.

In fact, the council chamber was filled to overflowing.  But why bother with the facts when you have a story to tell?

I’ve never seen a business-case that states how much time (if any) this road will save commuters.

It seemed when Richard Bullock became chair of the land commission, it was taking preservation of farmland seriously; for example the Pelton land removal application was denied.  Now, there seems to be a new direction.

First we have Minister Bill Bennett calling for changes to the ALR boundaries because “they inhibit economic development” and “impair the ability to put in subdivisions.”

And now this decision.

But what the heck, we don’t need local agriculture anyway do we?

We can always depend on getting our food from California and China.  Can’t we?

Michael Sather, Maple Ridge

(Sather is former NDP MLA.)

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are prepared for high Fraser River levels

Peak numbers are expected to be below trigger levels for both cities

‘Protect our jobs,” say laid-off hotel workers to MLA Lisa Beare

Delegation delivered a petition to Maple Ridge MLA office on Friday

LOOKING BACK: A ride down memory lane or in this case Dewdney Trunk Road

Maple Ridge’s museum director offers a history lessson on how the major thoroughfare came to be

$75K will mean gifts for Maple Ridge man’s kids

Meneo Asperin had a rush of emotion when he thought he’d won $75 on BC/49

New Maple Ridge park to be finished this summer

Park located on the former site of the Anita Place Tent City

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Greater Vancouver home sales start to tick up, with prices holding steady

Residential sales last month reached 2,443, a 64.5 per cent jump from May

Langley Lodge’s deadly outbreak declared over

Fraser Health and long-term care home administrator confirm Friday declaration

PHOTOS: South Surrey tractor project evokes ‘$1-million smile,’ helps connect neighbours

Retired Surrey firefighter Ron Henze began project for friend’s dad to fill time during pandemic

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

Search continues for person seen floating in Coquihalla River in Hope

Rescuers halted the search Thursday night as darkness fell

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

Most Read