Could this just be beginning?

Editor, The News:Re: Council tweaks shopping plans (The News, Feb. 16).It is wasteful to continue to debate zoning on agricultural land when we have an official community plan and an Agricultural Land Commission act that specify clearly where and how development should take place. We have just concluded a long consultation about the Jackson Farm. Now council has spent more than $150,000 to consult on the Albion flats, while committing $400,000 for incentives to developers of land in the downtown centre.  Yet, this could be just the beginning. How many more speculators have purchased cheap land in the ALR, gambling that the cost of lobbying for exclusion will be less than that of developing fallow lots downtown?We need to address development at a structural level rather than arguing it out acre by acre. We either say no to speculators or change the OCP and the ALC act.The Agricultural Land Reserve was created 40 years ago, when planners understood the pressures population growth would put on food production. Where will we be 40 years from now, when we need twice as much food and the cost of transporting it from elsewhere will be exponentially higher?Janet AmsdenMaple RidgeWho’s trolling?Editor, The News:Re: ‘Council just trolling for votes’ (The News, Feb. 18).Another case of the pot calling the kettle black.  Here we witness Coun. Craig Speirs  double-dipping as he grandstands in the local malls trying to get a fish on the hook for his federal campaign, while Maple Ridge business takes a back seat.Who’s really trolling for votes here?Congratulations to Coun. Cheryl Ashlie for defending the majority on council who decided to put forward one scenario that truly represented the majority of Maple Ridge residents. The accusation that some councilors had an ulterior motive in forwarding a plan that is bound to fail is, in my mind, offensive and disrespectful. What would be more lame than to send four different scenarios?The decision to send Scenario 2 came after much deliberation and public involvement, and I have faith that our progressive members on council have acted in the best interests of the community, and in doing so have reflected the wishes of the majority of Maple Ridge residentsGrover TelfordMaple Ridge

Big dealEditor, The News:Re: Right decision (Letters, Feb. 16).If Lisa Sofarelli and others of her persuasion are finding it necessary to “drive outside of this community to do our daily shopping,” perhaps they need to do a little more planning.I can’t imagine what one needs to get daily that is not available in Maple Ridge.   Groceries are available close near Albion at either  Save-On Foods, Cooper’s or Bruce’s Market.There are also bountiful produce stores and bakeries.Need a birthday gift?   There are several very nice and  unique gift shops right in the downtown core.  Perhaps once every 10 years I might need to buy a new appliance.  If  I can’t find what I want here in town, big deal.  I could handle the drive to Abbotsford or Coquitlam.  Clothes, I certainly don’t need to buy new every day.  Zellers has a fair selection socks and other necessities.I could go on, but I’m just not sure what kind of shopping needs to be done daily.  And even if it did, the necessities are all just five minutes by car from Albion, where my family and I have managed to survive for the past 20 years.  Now if the municipality wants to clean up something and get some taxes, why not do something with the south side of the tracks in Albion, which has so many empty or run down businesses.  Clean it up and make it look a bit like Bonson’s Landing.  Then you might need another grocery store.Susan TaitMaple Ridge