Count on more tax increases

Letter writer says development should happen closer to the municipal centre first where there is existing infrastructure and amenities.

Editor, The News:

Re: For every ’burb built, Maple Ridge pays (The News, Jan. 3).

What a breath of fresh air to read the comments and ideas from District of Maple Ridge finance manager Paul Gill on the unsustainability of urban sprawl developments that are happening around Maple Ridge and end up costing us, the taxpayers, ever increasing yearly tax increases.

I find it interesting to use Silver Valley as an example as I am a 33-year resident there and was against it being developed in the first place, as not only being a considerable distance away from any services, it was a steep hillside area with many streams and animal corridors. Not an easy area to develop.

Surely, I thought, shouldn’t development be happening closer to the municipal centre first, with the existing infrastructure and amenities?

Council, led by mayor Durksen and his slate of NPA councillors at the time, after voting to take Silver Valley out of the urban reserve and into urban development, assured us that this was only for future consideration and no development would happen in Silver Valley until the Albion area was totally finished.

Of course, as one landowner with large holdings in the Silver Valley area had already started clear-cutting his properties, the ink was hardly dry on the vote before development started happening there.

What I find very frustrating is that while Maple Ridge promotes itself as a Smart Growth community and every successive council member I talk to states that they cannot understand why the Silver Valley development was allowed to happen, they all keep voting for urban sprawl developments far away from existing infrastructure and services.

You only have to look at the Whispering Falls development or the latest clear cut development on the steep north side of Thornhill, impacting Kanaka Creek, to how council votes on urban sprawl.

It is very unfortunate, which is verified by the approximately 30 per cent who vote every three years, that Maple Ridge residents do not understand that their municipal council has more direct effect on their lives and where they live than provincial or federal elections.

Until we elect a more forward-thinking council, we can look forward to ever increasing taxes each year.

Doug Stanger

Maple Ridge