I went to the city hall meeting to hear a developer pitch his proposal to take up to 400 acres of land from Bradner and turn it into an “industrial park.”
This developer is promising millions of dollars in tax revenue, and thousands of jobs.
For the most part there were two obvious kinds of people attending with me – namely farmers, who are worried about industry encroachment on their way of life (mainly in the form of noise and traffic), and secondly, people who bought ALR land and would really like to sell it as industrial-zoned land.
Also, there appeared to be many children of the latter who would like to work in one of the thousands of jobs that will be available to them in this industrial area when they graduate.
Much like seven years ago when this same development was defeated, people inside the proposed zone attested to terrible soil, soil unfit to grow anything, soil so bad it rotted the feet off the goats at one poor woman’s farm.
Amazingly, just outside the red lines of the map, people have soil which is good enough to run productive farms, growing vegetable and berry crops, and raising dairy cattle (and even goats with good feet) – many who have farmed in Bradner for generations.
I’m not going to argue what matters or who matters more, however, I would caution people who don’t have a use for farmland to buy it on speculation that it can be rezoned out of the ALR.
The real issue should be the future, as a couple of speakers pointed out.
Hundreds of acres were removed from the ALR for industrial development near the airport years ago and the city has been spending considerable tax dollars to service this property with an eye to the future.
The city should protect their investment, continue on with their plan that they have been spending our money on.
I know it will be disappointing for some, but please tell this developer to try again when there is a proven need for a 400-acre industrial park, which would be neighbouring a 950 acre industrial park (Glouchester), which after 30 years of development is not yet half full.
If you ate today, thank a farmer.
Anne Graham, Abbotsford