A proposed agricultural subdivision for Ebenezer has residents in the area concerned.
Gordie Kirkpatrick, who is heading the proposed development of the MapleRidge Equestrian and Residential Community, addressed the public at a meeting in Milton Community Hall recently.
The meeting was held to discuss an application Kirkpatrick put forward to change the use of a portion of land in Ebenezer to allow for the subdivision and development of 13 three-acre mini-farm lots to be serviced by a private right-of-way, the establishment of a homeowners association and the provision of access to a variety of shared amenities for the homeowners, such as walking and riding trails, stables and paddocks.
Spencer Matheson, junior provincial planner with the Department of Communities, Land and Environment, said around 94 acres Kirkpatrick wants to develop are identified under the Land Protections Act for non-developed use, which limits what can be done on the property.
Of the 94 acres, about 50 acres will be used for this change-of-use process, 39 acres for the 13 three-acre lots and about six acres for the right-of-way that's going to service those lots.
“There’s quite a bit of residential development along the roadways in the area and there’s also a number of subdivisions of five lots or more around as well,” Matheson said. “But the majority of the land is used for agriculture or some form of resource use.”
The issue about developing agricultural land didn’t sit well with one farming couple in attendance.
Dewar and Victoria MacLeod are dairy farmers in the area of the proposed development and don’t want it to go ahead as planned.
“This is farmland, this is not a subdivision area,” Victoria said during the meeting’s question period. “We don’t want the development in Ebenezer, it’s as simple as that. It’s agricultural property.”
Kirkpatrick responded saying agriculture has a variety of definitions, and horse farming is one of them.
Victoria proceeded to ask if there’s even a need for a new subdivision, considering there are several in the area right now that aren’t full.
“So why are we building more?” she said, adding with the Mennonites moving in, they are farming the land, as are other farmers in the area.
“Let’s keep using it for agriculture instead of building houses, when there’s already a number of houses that are for sale on our road.”
The change-of-use application is only one step of the process for MapleRidge to be able to create the agricultural community being proposed, Matheson said, adding if the application is approved it will allow MapleRidge to apply for the subdivision of the land to get those 13 three-acre farm lots.
“There (are) a number of steps remaining in this process.”
Once a decision is reached, it will be posted online on the government’s website.