News Views: Maple Ridge council, don’t even go there

Editorial by The News

According to District of Maple Ridge staff, the terrain makes it difficult to develop in northern Albion, so one possible way would be for the district to pay the $4 million up front for the road and sewer costs and thus ease the way for developers in the 240th Street/112th Avenue area.

Such an approach is followed in other cities, whereas Maple Ridge has stuck to the model of developers paying for infrastructure, the roads, sewers and sidewalks, etc., then giving the infrastructure to the district, which then takes over the costs of long-term maintenance.

Maple Ridge should continue using this tried and true method and avoid risking taxpayer dollars just for the sake of spurring development.

The report warns there is fractured land ownership in the area. That could make land assembly difficult and preclude development in some parts, which could mean the district (read taxpayers) wouldn’t recoup all of its costs.

Given the never-ending annual five-per cent increases in property taxes, the municipality can ill-afford to be tossing around millions for infrastructure in an area in which developers are reluctant to invest.

In other words, if the marketplace sees no value investing in infrastructure, neither should the district.

Instead, the municipality needs to focus on re-inventing its financial model to reduce its constant spending and taxing increases.

It also needs finally to give accurate projections on the long-term costs of servicing suburban infrastructure so that the real costs of development can be integrated into planning.

That truly would be innovative.

– The News