by Sonja Szlovicsak (Editor-in-Chief)
Development is coming to the Fraser Valley, and it’s bringing a whole host of problems.
It is inevitable. As the cost of housing in the Vancouver area increased, more and more people moved into the Surrey/Langley area. Gradually, those two cities lost their farming community feel. Now Surrey is gaining high rises and Langley is turning into a sea of identical houses.
It isn’t easy for a community to fight back against developers. I remember citizens’ groups in Surrey that tried to organize protests against hideous townhouse developments, but their complaints landed on deaf ears. The local media didn’t provide much support; real estate makes up a large chunk of a newspaper’s advertising revenue.
Now the cost of housing in Surrey and Langley is rising. More and more people are moving to Maple Ridge, Chilliwack, Mission and Abbotsford because it’s cheaper.
There’s nothing wrong with affordable housing or people moving out into the country. What’s wrong is when land is removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and used for condos and mini malls. As the communities in the Fraser Valley gain more people, big city problems will pop up. How should the community deal with these issues?
This isn’t something that should just be left to local governments. Quite often, developers make large contributions to political campaigns, which does make you wonder just who’s concerns your local city council is listening to. People need to organize, and they need away to spread the word about community issues.
Which is what the Footprint Press aims to do: give Abbotsford and Mission residents a place to publish their concerns about Abbotsford and Mission.
The magazine is interesting. It’s published four times a year, and contains contributions from locals. I recommend checking it out online, at www.footprintpress.ca.
As Footprint Press editor Dr. Tracy Lyster quite rightly points out, there are very important issues, particularly ones tied to environmental sustainability, that don’t get covered in mainstream media because of their close ties to several industries.
The magazine relies on contributions from volunteers. The first issue contains an article from UFV’s Daan van der Kroon.
Hopefully, future issues will contain more student work.
And hopefully, as word of the Footprint Press spreads, so will a desire for a sustainable community.