I am writing to express my serious concerns about the proposal to build a large residential area along the Fraser River: the “Fraser River Bench Lands Neighbourhood” plan.
This is a ill-considered development that ignores several important factors:
1. Location next to industry
The area is situated directly across the river from the city’s major heavy industrial area. The noise from this area is already a nuisance to the people in Lower College Heights. Removal of the buffering effect of the green belt will make this very much worse. My wife and I are often kept awake at night in the summer when our home’s windows are open.
The train noise is already a problem that has been brought to the attention of City Council at various meetings stretching back to at least June 2001. The City has been unable to provide any relief from the train whistles, let alone the other noise generated by this busy 24-hour-a-day train switching operation,
The BCR site’s heavy industry is expanding, and with that expansion comes more noise and various other forms of pollution. The expansion of local industry is welcome. The idea of building another large residential area a few meters away from it is simply ridiculous.
If this is a problem for those of us who already live here, how awful will it be for the unfortunate folks who buy homes in this new development?
2. Traffic on Cowart Road
Cowart Road is already carrying more traffic than it was designed for. The increased traffic to the new area will virtually destroy it. The proposed road through the development will make it handy for people from the south end of Lower College Heights (the Malaspina area) to use it regularly, adding to the traffic on Cowart Road – and through the new area.
Upgrading Cowart Road will be a costly undertaking for the City.
The intersection of Cowart Road and Highway 16 is already unsafe due to the inadequate merge lane for east-bound vehicles. Improving this will also be expensive.
Is the City willing to put these items in its road development budget? Has anyone even tried to estimate there cost?
3. Loss of tax revenue to the City
While the new lots will, presumably, add to the City’s property tax revenues, this windfall will be reduced by the reduction in assessed property values that will surely occur in the areas adjacent to the present green belt and the proportionate reduction in taxation revenue from them.
For these reasons, I ask Council to reject this development and any other similar one that may be proposed in this area.
Ralph C. Allan