-- Wednesday, July 20, 2011 --
Corisa Bell is persistent. Everytime someone rips out, tramples,tosses or steals one of the anti-HSTsigns she’s carefully placed alongpublic property, she replaces it thenext day.In Pitt Meadows, the blue and whiteplastic placards that read “Vote Yes:Extinguish the HST” are being tar-geted daily, especially along AirportWay, where the signs have landedinto trees, ditches and tall grass.Someone has also begun alteringthe message in Maple Ridge by stick-ing the words “Rabbit Condoms”over HST.“I’m not sure what the point of thatis,” said Bell, puzzled at the mean-ing.B.C. is in the middle of a mail-invote on the Harmonized Sales Taxand people have until Friday (July22) to send in their ballot.Pitt Meadows bylaw departmentremoved dozens of anti-HST in Juneafter receiving a complaint aboutthem from a resident.The city’s sign bylaw bans politi-cal or election signs from roadsides,medians, parks and bridges, thoughthey’re OK on some municipal prop-erties and private lots.FightHST organizers had to godoor to door to ask residents if they’d like to have a sign outsidetheir property.Bell ﬁnds the persistent vandalismdisheartening.“It took so much effort to be ableto put the signs out, especially in PittMeadows,” she said.“It just shows a lack of respect fordemocracy.”In Surrey, the city removedabout 400 anti-HST signs lastmonth, but after backlash prom-ised to return them.
Now anti-HST signs vandalized
Residents and businesses alongthe north side of Lougheed High-way in Pitt Meadows are con-cerned a proposed interchange atHarris Road would make it evenmore unsafe to pull in and out of their driveways.The speed limit along the high-way is 80 km/h, and for many alongthe stretch, pulling in and out of their property means cutting off another motorist.Mel Bennett is the co-owner of RV Service and Custom Manufac-turing. He says his customers areconstantly ﬁghting trafﬁc as theyattempt to slow down, almost toa full stop, in the highway’s HOVlane to turn into his shop.“They’re coming in here with 30-,40-foot ﬁfth wheel [trailers],” Ben-nett said. “It’s not safe, stopping inthe middle of highway like that.”Should a proposed interchangeat Harris Road and Lougheed bebuilt, he believes the problemwould worsen, thanks to the con-stant ﬂow of trafﬁc.The interchange would eliminateall trafﬁc stops for westbound trafﬁcon the highway between Park Roadand Old Dewdney Trunk Road, ef-fectively turning that stretch of Lougheed into a freeway.Bennett said he has received twotickets from police for driving inthe HOV alone, as he attempted toturn right from the HOV lane intohis business.“How do they expect me to turninto my own business?” Bennettsaid. “I’m not going to cut acrosstwo lanes of trafﬁc.”There is no exit lane or frontageroad for the properties, and theshoulder is too narrow to drivealong.“If they could build [a widershoulder], that would be great. ButI don’t know where’d you’d put it,”said Bennett.Dennis Turkington has lived onLougheed highway since 1945 andsays the new interchange wouldmake life even more dangerous forthose living along the highway.“The trafﬁc lights at Harris Roadafford a break in trafﬁc, allowingthem to get out of their drive-ways,” Turkington stated in let-ter to Pitt Meadows council. “Aninterchange or connector withouttrafﬁc lights ... would make it im-possible to safely get out on to thehighway.”In March 2010, an 80-year-old PittMeadows resident pulled his smallpickup truck out of his propertyon to Lougheed Highway and wasstruck by a speeding motorcycledriven by a 36-year-old man fromNorth Vancouver. Both men diedin the crash.Turkington said many years agothe stretch of road was known as“Death Mile” and that he doesn’twant to see that moniker return.The proposed interchange is ex-pected to cost more than $20 mil-lion. No start date has been set forconstruction, as funding has yet tobe secured.Pitt Meadows Mayor Don Ma-cLean said, while he understandsTurkington’s concerns, the in-terchange, along with the NorthLougheed Connector, will helpease trafﬁc along Old DewdneyTrunk Road, where residents andfarmers have similar difﬁcultiespulling out on to the road safely.By easing the ﬂow of trafﬁc downLougheed, and eliminating thebottleneck between Harris Roadand 203rd Street, there will be lessincentive for rat-runners to takeOld Dewdney Trunk Road.“The whole reason for the inter-change and the connector is so thepeople on Old Dewdney Trunk cansafely get on the road,” MacLeansaid. “Some of the farmers havetold us they get stuck there forhours.”
The letters “HST” are being covered with print-outs that read “rabbit condoms.”
The developer of the OspreyVillage development at Bon-son Landing in Pitt Meadowsis asking the city to rezone itsfour remaining empty parcelsof land so it can build moreapartments and commercialspace, despite not yet hav-ing built a wedding chapel aspromised.Staff at the City of Pitt Mead-ows are recommending coun-cil direct Mosaic Homes tohold an information meetingwith residents in the area togauge public opinion on theproposed development.The four parcels locatedon Barnston View Road areat the centre of the develop-ment. Mosaic Homes is hop-ing to build four three-storeybuildings containing a totalof 24 residential units and 12ground-level commercialunits on the parcels.According to a staff report,Mosaic Homes doesn’t intendto build the commercial cha-pel until it can ﬁnd a suitabletenant.Pitt Meadows Mayor DonMacLean said he under-stands; there isn’t much pointin building a facility that maysit empty.However, he said, MosaicHomes needs to stick to thecommitments they’ve madenot just to the city, but to theresidents of the area.“The people in Osprey werepromised these things,” saidMacLean.The Osprey Village develop-ment already features 456 res-idential units, the maximumallowable under the develop-ment agreement, along withmore than 13,000 square feetof commercial space.In 2002, Mosaic Homesagreed to build the weddingchapel as part of the develop-ment covenant with the Cityof Pitt Meadows. The cove-nant also restricted construc-tion of Phase 4 of the develop-ment, until 10,000 square feetof commercial space had beenbuilt.In 2006, the agreement wasamended to allow MosaicHomes to accelerate construc-tion of Phase 4, if the devel-oper agreed to build the wed-ding chapel by no later thanApril, 2009.
‘Harris interchange would be a safety hazard’
Referendum ballots must bemailed in by Friday
Would turn Lougheedinto a ‘freeway’
Dr. Schnarr • Dr. Trotter • Dr. Lennox • Dr. Gill • Dr. Bains
22320 Brown Avenue, Maple Ridge
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