A long-fought agricultural battle has been given the green light. Nearly 33 hectares of land in the North Lougheed corridor has been approved to be excluded from the Agricultural Land Reserve.
As long as the City of Pitt Meadows meets a list of conditions, it will be given the goahead to move forward. Those conditions include further protection of farmland, a required change to Metro Vancouver's regional growth strategy, and the start of construction of the North Lougheed Connector road within three years of the approval letter (dated Aug. 14).
"They have given us the green light," said Pitt Meadows Mayor Deb Walters.
"There is still considerable work to be done in a rather short period of time but their support is the first step in moving forward," she continued.
"We all agree we need to find a way to accommodate the ever-increasing traffic coming from the east that aggravates farmers and commuters alike," Walters said, adding that the City is committed to "diversifying the tax base, providing local jobs, and preserving our agricultural roots."
"We have heard that farmers are hiring flag people to get out [onto the highway]," Walters added.
On July 16, representatives from the City of Pitt Meadows met the Agricultural Land Commission at their office in Burnaby, and outlined the needs of the exclusion.
The City's presentation focused on the need for traffic calming on Old Dewdney Trunk Road, a business plan for North Lougheed Corridor road and the Lougheed and Harris interchange.
"We have to guarantee protection north of the North Lougheed Corridor and make a contribution to the drainage utility," said Walters.
"It's huge news for our community.
We want to plan this properly," added Walters.
City staff will be working to get this part done, according to Kim Grout, director of operations and development studies.
"My focus will be on making an application to Metro Vancouver Board for the regional growth strategy.
"They need to change the designation from agriculture to general urban, which will likely happen before the year's end," Grout said.
The North Lougheed exclusion area includes land north of Lougheed Highway between Harris Road and Meadow Gardens Way.
/ Deb Walters Pitt Meadows Mayor;
@ Copyright 2013