Opinion

EDITORIAL: Burke battle

The provincial government is selling nearly 600 acres on Burke Mountain in Coquitlam as part of its asset disposal program. - COLLIERS
The provincial government is selling nearly 600 acres on Burke Mountain in Coquitlam as part of its asset disposal program.
— image credit: COLLIERS

News that the provincial government is selling 584 acres of land on Burke Mountain to pay off some bills may come as a shock to many people.

Judging by comments on a recent Tri-City News story, many feel there’s already enough development creeping up the mountain into bear and wildlife habitat, while others think selling off Crown assets is a poor way to manage the budget.

But is there enough of a protest to get the B.C. government to change their minds on selling this potentially valuable property?

In Port Moody, residents fought off the sale of Neighbourhoods 3 and 4 and, after a referendum, land that was slated for housing was turned into the 138-acre Bert Flynn Park.

Could that kind of a protest be mounted today?

It would be a tough slog, indeed. Premier Christy Clark was voted in on a jobs and balanced budget mandate and those assets are apparently necessary to meet her goals. As for Coquitlam, it will soon be considering the northwest Burke Mountain development area — much of which the province owns — and envisions it supporting 8,000 people in the future.

If turning the bus around is not an option, Coquitlam residents must keep their foot on the gas pedal. They must be vigilant in ensuring that this undeveloped area is properly planned, with wildlife values kept in place and scrupulous attention to communicating these values.

It cannot be “business as usual” on slopes this steep, so high into bear and cougar country. Council must not be swayed by short-term market conditions. If that land is to be properly developed, erosion control must be stringent and monitored, land for schools and other infrastructure must be in place, garbage must be tightly controlled, and parking and other measures built with low-impact on the land.

We trust the city has learned from its past mistakes on Burke and will ensure that if this land has to be developed it will be with the highest of environmental, community and social values in place.

 

 

 

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