City of Pitt Meadows criticizes ALC’s decision to block feed supply store relocation
The City of Pitt Meadows has come out against the Agricultural Land Commission’s decision to stop the Maple Meadows Equestrian Centre from selling Otter Co-op farm seed and feed,
with Councillor Mike Manion saying “things like this clearly demonstrates that there isn’t any support for agriculture.” Mayor Nicole MacDonald said that this decision will
lead to major disruptions within the Pitt Meadows farming community, which makes up approximately 85 per cent of the city’s total land. “With current and ongoing supply-chain
issues and now the reduced availability of local feed supplies, this gap in service will negatively affect the viability of agriculture in Pitt Meadows,” said MacDonald.
“Permitting the sale of farm feed and supplies in an agricultural area makes sense. The solution proposed to the ALC would have been a way to keep the Otter Co-op in our
community.” All of this stems from the sudden closure of the Otter Co-op Pitt Meadows location in 2022, due to the construction of the new Harris Road underpass. In a March
meeting, Pitt Meadows council unanimously supported the Maple Meadows Equestrian Centre’s application to the ALC asking for the relocation of the Otter Co-op’s farm feed and
supplies to their Harris Road locaton. On Nov. 15, the ALC announced it had rejected the application, citing numerous reasons. “The panel finds that introducing a commercial use
in the heart/centre of the ALR and the increased traffic not associated with farming (even if minimal as suggested by the applicant) would have an impact on the continuity of the
agricultural land base of the area and could cause conflicts derived from the interaction of two different land-use activities,” said the report. “The panel finds that the
purpose of the ALR is not to accommodate a commercial activity better suited to urban areas.” Mike Crouse, co-owner of the Maple Meadows Equestrian Centre, strongly disagrees
with the ALC’s arguments about increased traffic to the area. The commission suggested using an urban space for the supply and sale of Otter Co-op’s products. “They [the ALC]
thought there would be hundreds of more cars driving down our street, but the Otter Co-op employees told us that we’d actually be lucky to get 30 cars per day,” said Crouse.
“If they’re so worried about traffic in this area, then they should do something about the endless asphalt and dump trucks that drive up and down our street all day long.”
Crouse also explained that as part of the application process, he and his wife went through Pitt Meadows, looking for any commercial buildings that could possibly be rented, but