We purchased our home 11 years ago and researched the future plans for the area. We accepted that 124th Avenue may widen and be extended to the east. This was the only plan for changes to our neighbourhood in the Official Community Plan.
Despite the OCP, the safe, family-oriented, semi-rural feel of our neighbourhood could change drastically in a very short time if a proposed gravel pit is allowed.
The proposed changes make 124th Avenue the main access road into and out of the gravel site.
Official community plans are designed to protect many aspects of a community. Our concern is that what is currently protected can change, based on one individual's need for economic gain, and ignore the serious impact on others.
It seems this change goes against the guiding principles, values, and visions in the OCP for the District of Maple Ridge. Why is Council even considering an application for this development?
The corporate mission statement, on the District's website, cites the goal of promoting a safe and liveable community for our present and future citizens.
Furthermore, the OCP mission statement reads, "The District will strive to protect its Community Values into the future, as it becomes more vibrant and prosperous, offering residents a strong local economy, stable and special neighbourhoods, thoughtful development, a diversity of agriculture, and respect for the built and natural environment."
Council appears to have a clear goal of protecting citizens and their neighbourhoods, however it seems in the circumstance of the proposed gravel pit, this is not the case.
By considering this development proposal, is council acknowledging the decline in the safety and livability of our neighbourhood if a gravel pit was permitted?
There are numerous proven health risks, declines in property values, declines in quality of life, negative impacts on household and neighbourhood aesthetics, as well as negative impacts on local ecosystems and roadways that could result from the development of a gravel pit and the accompanying truck traffic.
Is this what Council had in mind when the OCP was created? Why has Council's vision and values changed? Is it mainly for profit at our neighbourhood's expense?
The values expressed in the OCP are being ignored by giving the proposed gravel pit consideration. This development would detract from the stability and uniqueness of our neighbourhood. Also, is it thoughtful to allow gravel trucks to travel on a road built for residential traffic that currently resembles a lane and is used by families with young children for recreational purposes like walking and cycling? Lastly, the mere thought of allowing the gravel pit does not show respect for the current built and natural environment in our neighbourhood. Values are expected to remain the same but it seems the guiding principles, values and visions with which Council began the OCP are not being considered in this situation.
As a resident of the one of the neighbourhoods bordering this proposed development, I strongly urge other concerned residents and members of Council to remember the goals in the OCP and ask that they fight to keep the integrity of our neighbourhood and the OCP. This is why we plan long term when we create OCPs and why we investigate them when we purchase homes. The fact that Council is even considering an amendment to the OCP that may allow a gravel pit within city limits goes against the reason OCPs exist in the first place. This is a slippery slope - if this is allowed, what could be next in your neighbourhood?
Jennifer Goodwin and Jeff Scott, Maple Ridge