News Views: Cars and cranes

An editorial on a proposed development by the Aquilini Group on land they own in northeast Pitt Meadows

The Aquilini family now wants to build a subdivision on 146 acres in northeast Pitt Meadows, essentially the middle of nowhere – no roads, no sewers, no services.

Although, the proposed 148-home neighbourhood would overlook its twin golf courses, and abut the Malcolm Knapp UBC Research Forest.

But a forested area atop a hill would have to be cleared before the houses are built.

Did we mention the property borders the Pitt Polder and sits above an important ecological reserve –  the Codd Island Wetlands are home to 191 species of birds, mammals and amphibians, including the endangered Sandhill crane.

Does the Aquilini family not know the history of this area?

Quick refresher: the Pitt Polder Preservation Society (no explanation required) won a historic court case more than a decade ago, after record-long public hearings, to prevent housing development and a hotel around Swan-e-set golf course, which is just up the road from the Aquilini’s berry processing plant and Golden Eagle Golf Club.

During the whole Swan-e-set kerfuffle, someone burned down the Sturgeon Slough Bridge, which led to both.

Now the family that owns 5,000 acres of agricultural land in Pitt Meadows (it also used to own the Codd wetlands and Blaney Bog, and currently owns the Vancouver Canucks) wants to build homes in the area.

And it wants to pump the sewage from them into the Pitt River, albeit treated first, by a system it intends to build. It would also build a storm sewer system, as well as a well and pump water from a nearby lake, for which is has a water license.

This is the same company that pumped water from the Alouette River, without a license. That case is still before the courts.

The area in question is zoned for as many as 55 ‘rural’ homes, not 148 all packed in, which would be more lucrative, but require more services (fire and police, for example), which the taxpayers of Pitt Meadows would have to subsidize.

And this is it, the Aquilinis won’t want to build more homes there? Not like nearby Silver Valley.

This bid by the Aquilinis is just an end run around Pitt Meadows’ agricultural border. It’s sprawl, and it is a slippery slope.

Sorry, but cars and cranes just don’t mix.

– The News