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Safety: Maple Ridge firefighters ready as days blaze by. 3

Health: Fire ants invade valley. 5

Sports: Royals aim high. 18 We d n e s d ay, J u l y 1 , 2 0 1 5 · mapleridgenews.com · est. 1978 · (office) 604-467-1122 · (del iver y ) 60 4- 4 66 - 63 97

Golf course not OK on ALR land

Best friends Kai Hall’s life was different before getting Cora, an autism service dog. See story, page 10. Tim Fitzgerald/THE NEWS

Robson loses appeal in Supreme Court By P hi l M e lnychu k pmelnychuk@mapleridgenews.com

A B.C. Supreme Court has disagreed with Gordy Robson’s contention that his combined golf course and sheep pasture is an allowed agri-tourism use within the Agricultural Land Reserve. Despite an earlier decision by the B.C. Assessment appeal board granting farm-status on the property, Justice N. Smith, J. ruled Friday that because the Heather Hills golf course isn’t temporary or seasonal, it doesn’t qualify as an allowed agri-tourism use of farmland. The justice also stated that the Agricultural Land Commission can decide that the golf course does not meet the definition, even though sheep graze on the course. See ALR, 9

Golden Ears park busier than ever Gates closed three consecutive weekends B y P h i l M e l nychuk pmelnychuk@mapleridgenews.com

THE NEWS/files

Park operators are enforcing a ban on campfires in Golden Ears.

The long hot weather is making a season like no other at Alouette Lake. Golden Ears Provincial Park in Maple Ridge’s backyard is the busiest manager Stu Burgess has seen. “It’s been the busiest year on record and it continues today,” he said

Tuesday. Until this year, apart from Victoria Day long weekend, it took until the end of June before the park operator, SSG Holdings, had to turn away vehicles because of packed parking lots. But the last three consecutive weekends park staff have had to turn around vehicles at about noon because parking stalls were all taken. “Usually, we’re not closing the park until the last weekend in June. The vehicle counts this year are just way more than anything we’ve expe-

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rienced before,” Burgess said. On Saturday, June 6 – 2,800 vehicles came through the park gates at the east end of Fern Crescent. The next day, 3,200 vehicles entered the park. Most of those were headed for the day-use picnic areas along Alouette Lake. According to B.C. Parks, on average, each vehicle brings in 3.5 people – more than 11,000 people in one day. The day-use area has 800 parking stalls and another 100 stalls for vehicles and boat trailers.

Prior to this year, the park’s busiest year was in 2009, when the Golden Ears Bridge opened. Weather was nice that year, but the bridge also helped boost numbers. “I think what we’re seeing this year is pretty much all an effect of the weather we’re having,” said Burgess. SSG Holdings only operates the park under contract for B.C. Parks and he hasn’t heard of any expansion plans for the park, one of the busiest in B.C. and one of the closest to Vancouver. See Park, 3

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Maple Ridge News, July 01, 2015  

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