Embrace the service industry

More letters on the Albion Flats development in Maple Ridge

Smart Centres has proposed a retail village concept for the Albion flats.

Editor, The News:

Re: Leave door to Albion flats open (Letters, Dec. 16).

Many residents and some landowners in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are calling for the removal of some lands from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

These proponents cite the potential for redevelopment of said lands for use as big-box retail centres, and “high paying manufacturing jobs.”

While it is common knowledge that big-box retailers offer lower-end products at relatively cheap prices and pay workers near minimum wage, we are deluding ourselves if we think that manufacturing jobs in Canada will provide high-paying wages.

The idea of high-paying manufacturing jobs in Canada is just not true. These jobs left Canada a generation ago.

My proposal for Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows is to embrace the service industry.

With our amazing natural attributes, and our proximity to a major international centre in Vancouver, our communities  can become a spectacular Fraser Valley destination.

Create an attractive big-box village in east Albion, and continue to redevelop the downtown core into a user-friendly centre for shopping and relaxation, even entertainment.

Yes, it will require two incomes to keep a family household. But, it has been that way for a long time.

Unless you were one of the fortunate who bought real estate before inflation decimated our real estate buying power, buying a stand alone single family dwelling in Metro Vancouver requires much more time, money, and energy.

As well, one must  accept a greater compromise on what can actually be bought.

Proposing land conversion in the agriculturally rich areas of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows for use as ‘high paying manufacturing jobs’ is just a thinly veiled deception, concocted to make a failed farmer a lot of money.

Drew Barnes

Maple Ridge

 

No reward

Editor, The News:

Re: Leave door to Albion flats open (Letters, Dec. 16).

There has been much debate regarding the future use of the Albion flats.

Generally speaking, the proponents of the proposed Smart Centres development have tried to frame the issue as for-or-against shopping.

As a longtime resident of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, I know there is demand for neighbourhoods to have appropriate access to shopping and services.

There is also certainly a need to broaden the tax base in Maple Ridge.

However, this should not be done at the expense of our farmland.

Regardless of any issues that may exist with the land, drainage or otherwise, developers should not be rewarded for speculating on farmland.

Specifically, we must discourage the practice of purchasing ALR land with the intent to develop it for purposes other than farming.

This practice is not only short-sighted, but it is in my view, unethical and morally reprehensible as well.

Ryan Wray

Maple Ridge

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