Paul Laity and his son Matthew are concerned for their farm if the Aquilini property is removed from the agricultural reserve.

Paul Laity and his son Matthew are concerned for their farm if the Aquilini property is removed from the agricultural reserve.

Letters: Application to remove ‘food’ land should be denied

Drought in the U.S. and population growth makes it wise to save farmland

Editor, The News:

Re: Online petition to keep farmland (The News, June 15).

I would like to clear up a few misconceptions that may have occurred as a result of  Phil Melnychuk’s article.

Annette LeBox  was quoted as saying  “… the Pitt Polder Preservation Society, which tried to preserve  farmland a decade ago, is now dissolved.”

Unfortunately,  this seemed to indicate that the polder society had not been involved in protecting farmland for the past 10 years,  but in fact the society,  which was formed in 1996  to stop a housing development in the Pitt Polder,  was actively involved in protecting both the environment and farmland until its dissolution in December 2014.

As  was correctly stated in the article,   the first proposal made by the Peltons to remove land from the ALR for industrial development occurred in 2004.

At this time, the Pitt Polder Preservation Society launched a petition opposing the exclusion.

But as this proposal did not make it past the council of the day,  it was filed away.

Re-enacted  in opposition to the second Pelton proposal in 2010,    the petition, which had grown to 2,335 signatures, was presented to the Agricultural Land Commission in 2010.

The polder society launched a campaign opposing this exclusion and consequently dozens of letters and emails were submitted to the ALC.

In October  2010, this proposal to remove 66 hectares of land from the ALR for industrial development was denied.

The reasons  given by the ALC for refusing the application  (the land being agriculturally capable,  no justification for converting agricultural land in a prime agricultural area, negative impacts on surrounding lands)  have  even more significance today.

Continued drought in the U.S. (from whence we acquire considerable produce), diminishing global food lands,  climate change,  the environmental impact and costs associated with importing food,  rapidly increasing population in the Lower Mainland,  and the threat of the Site C dam, which is destined to flood hundreds of hectares of prime food land in northern B.C.,  increases the importance of protecting our vitally important food lands.

It was,  of course,  inevitable  that another application to develop this particular piece of land would re-surface,  so it was no surprise that the new owners – the Aquilini Investment Group – would request  to remove this land from the ALR.

There are other areas in Maple Ridge that are suitable for industrial development (as was also noted in  the ALC decision),  but  quality food land, where water and climate are agreeable to food production, is a tremendous bonus.

Common sense dictates that this application should be flatly denied.

Diana Williams

Pitt Meadows

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alouette Heights.
Fire at Alouette Heights in Maple Ridge puts half of residents out of their units

Coast Mental Health said fire was small, but sprinkler system caused damage

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Myrna Norman credits social activity for her success fighting dementia. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge woman writes inspirational book documenting living with dementia

Myrna Norman has been an active community advocate for de-stigmatizing the debilitating disease

Betty Dubé with her daughters, campaigned for Maple Ridge mayor and was elected in 1974. (Maple Ridge Museum)
LOOKING BACK: Women involved in Maple Ridge politics for decades

A look at local women in public office as the U.S. inaugurates its first female vice president

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Jan. 24

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

The Abbotsford Tulip Festival is permanently closing, with plans to eventually set up in Armstrong, B.C. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Abbotsford Tulip Festival is closing, with plans to rebloom in Armstrong

Event organizer says pandemic and sale of land were factors in decision

Kyrell Sopotyk was drafted by the Kamloops Blazers in 2016 and played two seasons with the Western Hockey League club. (Photograph By ALLEN DOUGLAS/KTW)
Kamloops Blazer paralyzed in snowboarding accident sparks fundraiser for family

As of Jan. 24, more than $68,000 had been raised to help Kamloops Blazers’ forward Kyrell Sopotyk

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

(Pixhere photo)
B.C. dentists argue for COVID-19 vaccine priority after ‘disappointing’ exclusion from plan

Vaccines are essential for dentists as patients cannot wear masks during treatment, argues BCDA

Hundreds participated in the Abbotsford Kisaan Tractor Rally on Sunday. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Tractor rally in Abbotsford draws hundreds

Abbotsford Kisaan Tractor Rally occurred on Sunday

Most Read