Fill on farmland gone too far

Editor, The News:

Re: Farmland being dumped on (The News, July 22).

For months and months, dump trucks carrying excavated material from one or two subdivision development sites in Maple Ridge have been rolling on 224th Street to two properties along the North Alouette River and in the Agricultural Land Reserve, and dumping their loads.

This activity, under the pretense of building roads and berms for farming purposes, is making a mockery of the Right to Farm Act, the Agricultural Land Commission and the District of Maple Ridge.

This activity has been approved by the ALC and is being carried out under its guidance.

There are so many things wrong with this activity, from dumping material of an unknown quality near a salmon-bearing river, to destroying good farmland, and endangering the surrounding properties during a flood by redirecting water.

Fill farming is becoming a runaway problem in many municipalities.  Langley, in particular, is working hard to control this activity, which is usually approved by the ALC under the guise of improving farmland.

But when you do the math, there is a lot more profit to be made by being a dirt farmer dumpsite than actually farming the land.

If 50 loads a day were brought in to a property at $80 a load, over the period of a month, the benefit to the farmer is approximately $80,000.

In the case of 224th Street, the trucks often roll in on Saturdays, as well.

Extrapolate that over several months and one can easily see why fill farming is much more viable than raising bok choy.

Why is the ALC turning a blind eye to this problem?

Why is the District of Maple Ridge turning a blind eye to this problem?

Local residents, as well as the Alouette Valley Association have repeatedly complained, written letters, met with the district and the ALC, all to no avail.

It is time for both the ALC and the district to investigate what is really going on and put a stop to it.

It is time to make the property owner take steps to mitigate the impact he has put on surrounding properties.

It is time for this to stop.

Dian Murrell

Maple Ridge