News Views: Forever more

Taxpayers will pay more if Maple Ridge growth plan is ditched

Council, by a slim majority, decided last week to continue looking for a way to put a suburb in a rural area along the South Alouette River, outside Maple Ridge’s urban boundary.

By allowing that, council would increase the demands for roads, sidewalks, streetlights, fire and police across a larger geographic area of Maple Ridge.

However, the cost for such services is not fully covered by the taxes new suburbs generate.

As a result,  taxpayers across the city would pay for the new development.

As this happens, municipal taxes keep climbing.

Furthermore, if suburbs are allowed as proposed in this one urban zone, more new suburbs could be allowed in other similar zones across the city.

That would mean gutting of the entire, hard-won official community plan, which is supposed to guide Maple Ridge’s growth.

If the rural riverfront development is approved,  the contentious Thornhill area, east of 248th Street, would no longer be the next one slated for  orderly, suburban growth.

Instead, as staff warn, a hopscotch pattern of growth – expensive for taxpayers to service – would result.

Cities across Canada are beginning to quantify the costs of sprawl, as opposed to compact growth, where concentrating services makes everything more efficient and affordable.

Yet most on Maple Ridge council continue to blithely and willfully ignore this.

Only Mayor Ernie Daykin and Coun. Cheryl Ashlie seem to grasp the concept of at least limiting, to some degree, this type of growth.

With an election soon, the issue couldn’t be better timed. Maple Ridge taxpayers, tired of never-ending jumps of development, may want to pay attention to the latest topic at council and learn why they’re forever being asked to pay more.

– The News