Wednesday, August 03, 2011

There are no candidates living in the woodwork anymore

Some people say on the street and here and there that we will see as many as 30 candidates on the ballot for Maple Ridge Council this year. That is fantastic as it will doubtless (one hopes) attract more voters.

Also on the street we hear - as we do every time that Maple Ridge goes to the polls - that we need new faces and voices (ears?) on council. And each year we see a ton of familiar faces elected - same voices, same ears.

The big, big question is always agricultural land and how it is used, or abused.

Driving along the connector this glorious warm and still evening from Pitt Meadows towards Maple Ridge to our north across a matrix of small farms and sheer green, as sweeps up elegantly toward the foothills and the Golden Ears, majestic against a darkening sky I had to ask myself if I would be prepared to allow any development on what lay before me. The answer was 'no'.

Looking south from the connector toward Maple Ridge around Laity and 216th I contemplated allowing homes and subdivisions all down to the connector, east and west. Probably would, slowly, over time. Simple: north of the connector remains as it is, south of the connector, let the developers and the ALC duke it out.

With only 15% of our land in the ALC, we need to protect that tiny asset. It is not a matter of farming or soil testing or farm receipts, the economy or the future of the planet. It is just too damn pretty to give up.

It is so, so important to stay focussed on the brown fields development in Maple Ridge, wherever we can find it. My money is on the downtown. Tons of opportunities for savvy investors, developers and realtors, right in the heart of Maple Ridge. The evidence that some have seen this opportunity is obvious. Hogarth is just one of them. Others will follow suit.

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