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LETTER: Yennadon is too ecologically valuable to destroy

Reader humbly suggests re-developing already urbanized areas of Maple Ridge, instead
Yennadon is home to so much “treasured” wildlife, that every effort should be made to preserve the ecologically sensitive area and look at redeveloping urbanized areas for job-generating businesses. (Stephan Alberola/Black Press Media files)

Dear Editor,

Re: Yennadon lands

I live on 126th Avenue, bordering the ‘Yennadon Lands’, where the city is considering an ‘employment lands’ development.

As was acknowledged repeatedly at the Oct. 7 open house, this is a very environmentally sensitive area.

RELATED: City of Maple Ridge continues the hunt for new industrial land

In the last few days alone, I have seen eagles perched in the healthy cluster of high cottonwoods and also circling the land; I have watched a heron gliding above the length of the creek and over the wetlands, and a hawk soaring across the treed areas.

A young bear made his way toward the open land, twice in one afternoon.

While recently visiting a neighbour – whose property backs onto the land a few weeks ago – we met with a deer, well-known to one neighbour for his lop-sided antlers, and to another for being of the third generation of deer they’ve seen cross the meadow year after year.

Owls have come out at nightfall.

Neighbours commonly report bobcat sightings.

In the spring, the call of frogs at night is astounding and magical, as is the rich chorus of birds in the early morning and at dusk.

RELATED: Herd of deer camp out in Yennadon front yard

And in the summer, the occasional howl of coyotes in the night is beautifully haunting.

The presence of this green space – the healthy, established forests, the creek and wetland, and the open meadow – is so valuable here, a life-giving treasure to residents, both human and non-human.

I feel very proud to be part of a community that has protected its waterways and creeks with some of the most rigorous regulations in the province.

It is equally valuable that we now have a tree bylaw that seeks to protect healthy established tree growth and mature trees that bring so much to our community in terms of beauty, quality of life and fresh air, not to mention the integrity of ecosystems that help mitigate climate change.

It is because Maple Ridge has put these regulations in place that salmon are thriving here compared to other areas, and that many residents can live in communities that offer healthy ecosystems, beauty, and life quality.

It would be excellent if Maple Ridge could be an example to other communities and take this further – to have equally rigorous protection of life and ecological systems beyond just waterways, and to protect areas that are home to raptors and other birds, to much-needed pollinators, to communities of deer, bears and a host of other mammals.

Intact ecosystems are much of what makes Maple Ridge unique and special.

RELATED: Yennadon site could become employment lands

In the Yennadon area specifically, consistent and continuous hubs where wildlife can maintain their well-used corridors – far, far beyond the mere 20-30 per cent on the proposed 3 Concepts – deserve to be granted conservation status.

It would also be excellent to enhance and repair land that has been damaged or neglected.

I understand there is a need for development that offers jobs to local residents (I’m curious if being local to Maple Ridge would be a condition of employment there, or would this just bring more traffic?) and diversifies the tax base.

My strong feeling is that much more mixed-use development needs to be integrated into already urbanized areas so that it doesn’t damage ecologically valuable ones.

Zuzana Vasko, Maple Ridge



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