Letters: Food versus jobs is not the right fight

We need to realize that we need both, farmland to produce food and knowledge-based jobs to make a decent living.

Editor, The News:

Here we go to the old fight between farmland, meaning nature and beauty, and industrial jobs, meaning, economic development.

We need to realize that we need both, farmland to produce food and knowledge-based jobs to make a decent living.

We have land and we need food and need good paying jobs. If we keep all the land for farming, we do not get those jobs, so we will have produced food, but no money to buy the food from the farmers, who always complain that we pay too little for their food.

If we use all the land for industrial places to have jobs, there will not be food, even though we will have the money to buy it.

We can buy it abroad, but somehow we compromise our food security in case there is a trade conflict.

The only solution is that some land will have to be designated for the industrial places.

Since the industrial revolution times, we learnt that industry can only be where workers live. Workers live in cities. Then, it is only logical that the industrial park must be near to the city, so workers do not need to do long commutes to their jobs.

This, incidentally, reduces fuel consumption, traffic and pollution, all aspects in favour of the environment.

Recently, when I volunteer to the chamber of commerce for the business walk in Maple Meadows industrial park, I was devastated when I heard that some companies are forced to leave Maple Ridge because they do not find a suitable place to expand, which seems to me like going backwards.

I  also heard that being close to the Golden Ears Bridge is critical to business.

No companies means no jobs for our young people and no resources and no need for a good college in the city to educate the young people.

Today, they leave the city to study and then to work, never to come back. All because, we could not figure out which land was needed for farming or for job creation.

It must be somewhere in a Maple Ridge development plan, where these two uses are clearly delineated for today and the next 50 years.

Let the city planner explain what the plan is before jumping to conclusions.

Food versus jobs is not the right fight. Our efforts to step up to the challenge to keep both is the real one.

Alex Gidi

Maple Ridge