Fix the road, somehow.
Build a new road, somewhere.
A proposed gravel pit at the north end of 256th Street is reviving the major worry of the Webster’s Corners Community Association – how to cope with increasing amounts of industrial traffic, such as heavy dump trucks rumbling down rural 256th Street and Dewdney Trunk Road.
“From our point of view, we still have the same concerns as we do with the municipal and any other gravel extraction that’s going on. The roads in that area are not set up to handle that kind of traffic,” association president Simon Challenger said.
“You have a road, in our view, that’s not able to handle that kind of volume.”
Canadian Aggregates and Katzie First Nation want to create the Blue Mountain Quarry on 79 hectares, just east of the north end of 256th Street. Three other gravel pits already operate in the area and follow the District of Maple Ridge’s gravel hauling limit of 300,000 cubic metres a year.
Association vice-president Mary Robson said it could be time to revive efforts to complete the extension of Abernethy way from 232nd to 256th street. Abernethy Way runs a few blocks north of Dewdney Trunk Road.
Kanaka Business Park, a new industrial area on 256th Street, is sitting empty because there are no roads or buses to it, Robson says.
And she points out the idea of industrial development at the north end of 256th Street was discussed 30 years ago. But that was based on the promise of a new road running north of Dewdney Trunk Road to give access to 256th Street. That’s yet to happen, Robson said, adding she’s “dismayed” that Katzie haven’t worked with Maple Ridge and developers to find a way to pay for the road.
She pointed out an old service road between 248th and 256th could provide the right of way, leaving only the stretch of Abernethy from 240th to 248th street to connect.
“This should have been in the planning process 20 years ago, when we knew that we had this industrial resource up there.”
The Katzie-Canadian Aggregates proposal for the quarry could serve as a catalyst to complete a recreation-industrial strategy for the area, if everyone got involved, she added.
Challenger also remains unconvinced about the five-kilometre gravel road proposed to connect 256th to 272nd street to divert trucks away from 256th and Dewdney Trunk Road and Webster’s Corners elementary.
But the trucks eventually will run along Dewdney and through Webster’s Corners, Challenger pointed out.
He also said that extending Abernethy east could be difficult because the right of way is now owned by several landowners.
Widening Dewdney Trunk Road to four lanes as far as 256th Street is another option, possibly the cheapest, albeit a difficult one, given the terrain, Challenger added.
“In our view, it’s somewhat of a stop-gap solution.”
Challenger said the group is waiting for an open house in the new year.
“We’ll definitely be there.”