Abbotsford will take a controversial Agricultural Land Reserve proposal to the public.
Council voted Monday to begin a consultation process regarding the ALR exclusion application for 22 properties in the Bradner area.
The proposal asks to remove 225 acres from the ALR to create an industrial development. The properties are bordered by Highway 1 to the south, Lefeuvre Road to the east, 56 Ave./Harris Road to the north and the Abbotsford/Langley border to the west.
The proposal, by the Emerson Real Estate Group, indicates thousands of jobs could be created and approximately $4.7 billion in economic activity generated.
However, some property owners in the Bradner area have been vocal in their opposition.
Coun. Patricia Ross – who chaired Monday night’s meeting for a vacationing Mayor Bruce Banman – told the audience public consultation was not an indication of support.
“I want to make it very clear to the public that this is not to approve this development or move this development forward in any way.”
She said because of the scope of the project, the city was going “above and beyond” what is normally done with ALR requests.
Council can only make a recommendation on the ALR proposal. The decision to remove lands would have to be made by the Agricultural Land Commission.
Coun. Henry Braun agreed that public consultation was needed, but added it may be “premature.”
He said too many questions regarding traffic, transit and policing of the area remained unanswered. He believes the public will want to know what the infrastructure costs would be.
“I think, eventually, this property naturally will become industrial lands,” said Braun.
But he wants to be able to answer the public’s questions.
“My fear is we are not going to accomplish anything.”
Staff noted that city representatives and the developer’s consulting team would take part in the meetings to answer questions.
The public consultation dates will be announced in the coming weeks.