Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are in the middle of the push-pull battle faced by other nearby communities over past decades, as the Vancouver hub spread itself out past its suburbs and into lands previously occupied primarily by farmers and lumbermen.
When areas like Point Grey and Kitsilano went through the process of urbanization a century ago, there was far less concern about attaching conditions to the woodlands and pastures as they were snapped up by developers. If a farmer wanted to retire - or just make a bundle of money - all he had to do was find someone who wanted to build houses or stores or factories on his land, and sign the papers.
By the time it was Surrey's turn to go through those growth pains, there was already a growing understanding - and concern - for the importance of agriculture to the future of the overall region and the population it was expected to support.
By the time growth had an opportunity to overwhelm the Langleys and Abbotsford, there was an Agricultural Land Reserve and an environmental movement and a social commitment to not only the value of farmland, but to "green space" in general. Langley proudly labelled itself "the place where town and country meet" - but that epithet was imposed on the community, as much as it was happily accepted.
Now, with the Golden Ears and Pitt River Bridges helping to push the population drive out further, councils of both Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge are in the midst of that same dilemma - how do we develop economically without destroying our environmental future? Community leaders need to think faster and more carefully than ever before to ensure that mistakes made by others are not repeated here.
@ Copyright 2013