Representatives of the group Friends of Jackson Farm tried convincing council Tuesday evening to not develop a property next to the historic farm that has been turned over to Maple Ridge as a park.
The piece of property in question, just west of Lower Jackson Farm, was severed from the Jackson Farm in the late 1940s.
A bioswale to deal with the drainage problems has been proposed between the development site and the farm; however, it would be situated on the farm property.
"It's water coming off our property that has to be dealt with some way," said Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin after the public hearing, adding whether two houses or 30 houses are built on the property, the drainage issues would have to be addressed.
If something were eventually built on the Lower Jackson Farm, which the District of Maple Ridge owns, constructing the bioswale will save the District from addressing the drainage issues down the road.
The property is in the urban reserve but is zoned agricultural.
Former Maple Ridge councillor Craig Speirs told council on Tuesday evening that the proposal to build 30 homes beside Jackson Farm would "devalue and degrade Jackson Farm."
"There is no community benefit to 30 houses surrounded by park land, we have plenty of land already within the urban boundary that can supply all the housing we will ever need," Speirs said.
Speirs said that with 140 years of history, it is "our duty" to protect Jackson Farm.
"There is no guide plan for Jackson Farm and the second phase of neighbourhood planning in Albion hasn't happened yet," Speirs said. "For these two reasons alone you should reject this proposal. It is too soon and too little."
Daykin said there are diverse opinions on what Jackson Farm could be turned into, including a community centre, a natural amphitheatre, or leaving it as a pastoral rolling landscape.
Its future will be discussed in conjunction with the parks master plan, either before council's summer break but more likely in the fall, Daykin added.
Council took "copious" notes during the public hearing, Daykin said, and he personally plans to go over his and compare that to the staff report and then listen to the conversation around the council table before making up his mind.
Daykin said it was suggested at the public hearing that council's mind is already made up on the issue, that the development proposal was a "done deal."
"I take exception to that," he said. "That's why we're holding a public hearing."
Council is expected to make a decision on the issue on June 26.