Monday, September 28, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
As the dust settles on Jackson Farm inner city woes in Maple Ridge are aired in Victoria - not a moment too soon.
As proof that speaking out on this issue is having a positive affect and being heard at the different levels of government the discussion below is taken from the Hansard (draft) notes during the afternoon sitting of September 24^th 2009.
*M. Sather:* ...I'll mention right now that we have a situation in Maple Ridge that has been in the news over the last number of years and continues to be. We have an owner-developer that has been so difficult to deal with, has caused so many police resources, so many fire department resources, so many hours by the local government officials to try to deal with this strata property…. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
*M. Sather: *Yeah, the member for Maple Ridge–Mission *(M. Dalton)* knows of whom I speak. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
The majority owner…. This is a little bit of the history of what's going on, to inform the House on how hopefully useful this legislation is going to be. Through his lawyers, he informed the existing strata council that they were being removed through a vote of non-confidence by the majority owner. At the time, the owner and his family owned 12 of the 20 units, so they just manifestly said: "You guys are out of here." [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
Moving on to a couple of other things that happened. All motions from the floor to put money toward roof repairs and other issues were defeated, and the building is a disaster site. It's run-down. One section of it was burnt-out. The municipality, finally, after years and years of litigation and attempted action, were able just in the last couple of months to get that burnt-out skeleton demolished. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
It's been the site of not only a lot of drug dealing and other illegal activities but some very deplorable conditions that people have been living in down there. It has certainly been distressing to us all. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
The said meeting ended without a budget being passed. He then went on to use his majority of votes to increase the monthly strata fees, and he informed the other owners that he will become the general contractor in regards to repairs of the building — not to worry about any sort of conflict or anything like that. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
It's been particularly contentious in Maple Ridge. As I say, I've met — and I know the member for Maple Ridge–Mission has met — citizens groups that are concerned. Fire, social services — you name it. Local government people just tearing their hair out on how to deal with a strata where the owner-developer simply refuses to cooperate, is litigious, goes to court, fires his lawyer at the last minute, and the process has to start over again. He's very adept at keeping everybody off balance, no doubt about that. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
For the full draft transcript go to http://www.leg.bc.ca/hansard/39th1st/H90924y.htm
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Radio Haney was delighted to see Cheryl Ashlie not allow herself to be sucked in to voting 'yes' on this one.
Linda King steadfast as ever and, to use Ashlie's words 'predictable', voted against this proposal.
The biggest loser, as he will find out at the next election, is Craig Speirs. Radio Haney has for many years suspected that this humdrum of a self-serving politician had duplicitous tendencies.
Speirs voted in favour of going ahead on Jackson Farm and in a single vote washed away his credibility - the little he had remaining - and sits now firmly with the good old boys of Maple Ridge. In a sense he has come of age.
Council will reminded in no uncertain terms of their actions on this matter at the next election.
Hats off to Ashlie and King. 'Off with their heads' to Morden, Dueck, Speirs and Hogarth.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thanks to everyone that has been informing other community members about the meeting on September 28th at the Fraserview Community Center.
For anyone that read the article form the Maple Ridge News regarding property tax and the potential short falls the city is facing when it comes to covering expenses, and what has priority and does not when it comes to expenditures of tax money the mayor is quoted as asking is quoted as saying '_what do we not do_?' It is safe to say that one thing the city should not do is repair Jack Athwal's suites and then go through the process of trying to recover the money.
Seeing as Athwal has now been quoted numerous times as saying even he does not want the suites repaired it is futile for the city to push forward with repairs if it is facing potential short falls in other areas. Anyone who feels the same is encourage to contact mayor, council and staff to encourage them not to make the wrong decision as to what city tax dollars will be used for.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
RADIO HANEY AGREES ENTIRELY WITH THE CONTENTS OF BETTY'S VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS LETTER TO THE TIMES
"Is it is any wonder that public participation is nil to non-existent when Council makes a mockery of the public process and insults those who volunteered to work on the most recent OCP." Radio Haney September 15, 2009
Farm proposal is no 'donation'
The TimesPublished: Tuesday, September 15, 2009
It is with great concern that I write this letter in reference to the upcoming public hearing (tonight, Tuesday) regarding the trade of Lower Jackson Farm to advance development of Upper Jackson Farm to urban density levels in contravention of our Official Community Plan 2006. A trade that is not supported by their own staff.
First of all, this is not a gift or donation referred to by both members of our community and the local press. This is a deal worked out in the backrooms with our council. A gift has no expectation of reciprocation, whereas this deal means that the owners will receive the ability to "break" our Official Community Plan, cross the Urban Containment Boundary and develop 112 lots on rural residential land, bring municipal water (prematurely) to rural lands that service 112 lots because they can afford to pay for it, develop the Urban Reserve without any milestones in our Official Community Plan being met, risk the impact of on our aquifer which services all our wells without a proper study being conducted as promised by our district, but most importantly this is the silent trade that will open the doors prematurely to development for all the speculators who are waiting anxiously for this plan to pass in return for Lower Jackson Farm coming into district hands for free.
Secondly, our community understands that if council is allowed to cross the Urban Boundary prematurely, with this proposal, it will make the entire boundary vulnerable to every other part of our community because they have been allowed to set this precedent.
There is, however, a solution presented by district staff to council, which council and developer have refused. The district could trade district-owned lands (our land), which are already zoned for residential urban development, and this would enable us to acquire Lower Jackson Farm, give fair trade value to the developer and not break our Official Community Plan. If both the developer and council truly want to trade Lower Jackson so that it becomes a community-owned property, then they should both be looking seriously at this option. The district has recently traded land using this method.
This is the first major test for our Official Community Plan as to whether it is worth the paper it is written on and whether we can trust in the process and our council to adhere to it.
Even as it has been said by council that the OCP "gets amended all the time," (in order to minimize the impact and repercussions of such an amendment) never has it been to the extent where Metro Vancouver would need to approve changing our Regional Context Statement (the heart of our Official Community Plan). This is heart transplant, not a simple amendment.
Council is counting on an apathetic and discouraged community who will not react strongly to this important issue of urban sprawl at its best. I think our community is smarter than council thinks and they will contact Metro Vancouver's Planning Department by letter or e-mail about their concerns because Metro Vancouver needs to approve sewer extension and a 50 per cent plus one approval by its members to change our Regional Context Statement. We as a community can appeal to Metro Vancouver's members because this particular proposal opposes all the goals set forth in the new Regional Growth Strategy expected to be passed this fall. So, even if you have lost hope in your local government over this issue, don't forget that there are other hurdles that need to be jumped in order for this to pass. Get your pen out or fire up your computer and start writing. Remember, it's your community.