Ashcroft Ranch “no value” to taxpayers

Metro Vancouver's ownership of the ranch questioned once more

The Ashcroft Ranch is once again in the spotlight, as some in the Lower Mainland are questioning Metro Vancouver’s ownership of the property.

The questions have been prompted by the prospect of steadily rising utility fees for residents of Metro Vancouver. Sharply rising costs to upgrade Metro Vancouver’s sewer and water system are being blamed for the expected increases.

One way of easing the burden on the region’s taxpayers would be to get more value from the Ashcroft Ranch, says Delta Mayor Lois Jackson.

Jackson has questioned why Metro Vancouver still owns the Ashcroft ranch, which it once intended to turn into a new landfill. The plan was blocked by the province and opposing First Nations.

“We should be getting taxpayers value out of that land,” Jackson said. “We’re not in the business of running ranches. Taxpayers’ dollars are sitting out there.”

It’s not the first time that Jackson has suggested something be done with the property. In 2011 she said, “My personal opinion is we should divest ourselves and sell it to a group or a rancher — someone who would husband the herd.”

The 4,200 hectare property was purchased by Metro Vancouver in 2000. About 200 hectares would have been used as a landfill, but the project was shelved.

Metro officials said the ranch continues to run and is covering its operating costs. They said the region had been holding off on trying to sell the land due to low real estate prices, but will review the decision this fall.

Barbara Roden

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