Now that the District of Maple Ridge has finally put to bed its 5-year Official Community Plan a public consulation process can begin that will lead eventually to the development of the area. Various prononents with diverse objectives are lined up to join the fray. SmartCentres (formerly FirstPro) has already either purchased or optioned significant parcels of land in the area and firmly believes that the public supports its concept for turning the Albion into a big box mecca in east Maple Ridge.
Then there is strong support by other groups who wish to see the Albion expanded as a recereational and sports complex with a continuing support for light-agricultural industry and show ground events; their is an idea that the Albion makes the perfect location for a 2000 capacity sports arena with a track that may suit a future BC Games event.
The big picture view in essence presents the community with two vastly differing philosophies. One is that the Albion is better used for commercial and business purposes. The other is that the Albion be treated as a cultural and natural space, developed as a legacy project. A not-for-profit versus for profit war is close to breaking out. The District will act as peacemaker and spend up to $1million dollars on a consultative program that will, if it works, result in a plan that satisfies some, but not all of the proponents.
Let the games - or perhaps the shopping - begin.