About Pitt Meadows
Nestled between the mighty Fraser River and the majestic Golden Ears mountains, east of Vancouver, Pitt Meadows is a dynamic municipality with a growing population of just over 18,200. Most residents live in the urban town centre, which is located on a highland area. Eighty-two percent of Pitt Meadows is within the Green Zone, lands, including watersheds and 200 year flood plains, forests, wilderness areas, wildlife habitats, wetlands, recreational areas, farms and forestry areas that are fundamental to Metro Vancouver’s character and ecology. Pitt Meadows, an agricultural town, is over 68% within a flood plain with eighty-six percent of Pitt Meadows lying within the BC Agricultural Land Reserve as protected farmland. Lands designated as environmentally sensitive include wildlife conservation areas, such as Pitt-Addington Marsh and Codd Wetland Ecological Conservancy Area and the banks of the Fraser, Pitt and Alouette Rivers. Other areas within Pitt Meadows that are within the Green Zone include most of the area on the river side of the dikes, Municipal parks and greenways.
Pitt Lake bog and dike.
Pitt Meadows is sandwiched on the north side of the Fraser River at its junction with the Pitt River on the west and Maple Ridge on the east. Two arms of the Alouette River run through Pitt Meadows, along with a number of other sloughs and waterways. To the north, Pitt Lake is the largest fresh water tidal lake in the world, connected by the Pitt River to the Fraser River, which is the southern boundary of Pitt Meadows. The Pitt River flows backwards at high tide and has created a delta where it joins the lake. The Thompson Mountain Range rises along the Pitt Meadows’s northeast edge. Pitt Meadows is protected from flooding by Sixty-four kilometres of dikes which provide a multi-use trail system alongside the farmland and marshes, and offer views of the mountains to the North. The northern sector of the flood plain, closest to Pitt Lake, presents several challenges to development, it is largely a peat bog including a large wildlife refuge. The deep peat and bog soil conditions sometimes require considerable fill and/or pre-loading prior to development. On the west side of the Pitt River is Port Coquitlam. Pitt Meadows is located between the rapidly developing communities of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Surrey and Langley.
Pitt Meadows is naturally isolated from the rest of the Lower Mainland by the Pitt River and the Fraser River. The Fraser, Pitt and Alouette Rivers played a pivotal role in the development of Pitt Meadows by providing transportation routes, fishing areas and nourishing flood water to the farm areas. Today, the Fraser River is an extensively used navigation channel for both industrial traffic and recreational use. Although the Pitt River sees less traffic, its foreshore is an important area for log storage. The Alouette River continues to be important to the farming areas.
Its first land-based transportation route came in 1885 with the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway through to Port Moody. The main portion of the town of Pitt Meadows is bisected by the CPR mainline. The highway bridge over the Pitt River was opened in 1957. As of 2003, the CPR intermodal yards and distribution centre west of the Pitt Meadows Station in the town centre are being expanded.
TransLink’s West Coast Express commuter trains connect Pitt Meadows to Vancouver and Mission.
Pitt Meadows Airport opened in 1963. It was transferred from Transport Canada to the Pitt Meadows Airport Society (PMAS) effective May 1999. The Society owns and operates the airport and, as a not-for-profit organization, reinvests all earnings back into YPK in order to improve the airport for the community.
PMAS is subject to an Operating Agreement with the federal Minister of Transport obliging it to manage, operate and maintain the airport as an aerodrome certified by the Minister of Transport.
The Minister of Transport has certified PMAS as having met the approved aeronautical standards, recommended practices and the level of safety at the airport, and the issuance of the airport certificate was in the public interest.
There are height restrictions on buildings due to the proximity of the Pitt Meadows Airport to the southeast, although the recent development of a 10 story building less than 2 kilometres from the East-West runways puts those restrictions in doubt. In 2003, the airport was undergoing expansion to support scheduled passenger service for short-haul prop-driven planes. The airport is also home to a skydiving school, as well as a number of other businesses.
Bridges & Highway
The Pitt River Bridge and Mary Hill Interchange Project included a new seven-lane bridge that replaced the existing swing bridges, as well as an interchange to replace the current Lougheed Highway and Mary Hill Bypass intersection. Golden Ears Bridge, which connects Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge to Surrey and Langley, opened in 2009. Golden Ears is the name of the summit that lies North of Pitt Meadows. In 2011, Lougheed Highway upgrades included the widening and extension of the westbound HOV lane between the Golden Ears Bridge and Harris Road, the addition of bus queue jump lanes in both directions, at the Kennedy Road intersection leading to and from the Pitt River Bridge. The Golden Ears Bridge, completed in summer of 2009, connects Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge with the communities of Langley and Surrey south across the Fraser River. The bridge is operated as a toll bridge; Translink has stated it would take over 30 years for the bridge to be paid off via tolls. Construction of the new Pitt River Bridge, connecting Pitt Meadows with Port Coquitlam to the west, was completed in autumn 2009; unlike the Golden Ears, the new Pitt River Bridge is not a toll bridge.