Apr 012014

To kick off the Hammond Area Plan, the municipality is running a “Hammond Community Character Photo Project“. To participate, go out and take photos that capture your view of the character of Hammond. Email the pictures to  myhammond@mapleridge.ca.

Alternatively, post your photos on the Hammond Neighbours Facebook group:

  1. On Facebook, while looking at the Hammond Neighbours group page, click on the Photos menu option underneath the pictures at the top of the page.
  2. Click the #MyHammond album.
  3. Click Add Photos in the top right corner of the panel.
  4. Select the photo you want to upload.
  5. Add one or two keywords to the photo.

You can also post your photos to Instagram with the hashtag #MyHammond.

 Posted by at 12:17 am
Mar 312014

The eagerly awaited Hammond Area Plan process is underway. This is a process led by the municipality that enables Hammond residents to contribute to decisions regarding community development in the Hammond area.

The Maple Ridge municipality has set up a page on their website that will have all the information and reports as things proceed. If you want to get an email when something gets added to the the website‬ page, click “NotifyMe” on the left side of the screen, enter your email address, then select “Maple Ridge News Room” from the list.


 Posted by at 11:48 pm
May 262013

We had a great seminar today on Neighbourhood Building (if I do say so myself).

Getting home, I immediately self-administered a stiff double-something for medicinal purposes, then Chris and I took our desperate house-bound DogBeast for a long walk. (I tried to lay in a hammock and ignore the DogBeast, but she was pushing at the hammock so hard that the rocking was spilling my whiskey and making me seasick. A tired DogBeast is a good DogBeast.)

As Chris and I walked, we talked about the seminar: the discussions, the ideas, the potentials, the visions. We also talked about the ditches of Lower Hammond (so cool! We’re going to do a photo essay), the old houses and the new houses and the neato crazy houses (Chris has lived here over 20 years, so he has seen lots of evolution), and the things that make Hammond special. For example…

We have commercial areas

Integrated commercial activity is a tremendously valuable asset that many neighbourhoods lack, but Hammond has it in spades. In fact, it’s a pillar of our neighbourhood.

Before the seminar started this morning, I had the pleasure of escorting Paul Sparks, one of our guest speakers, around the displays in the foyer and told him about our community. The last display had a bunch of neat historical photos of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. I told Paul that many neighbourhoods in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows have deep historical roots, and that those roots are defining characteristics of those neighbourhoods.

Paul asked me: “What is your favourite historical icon in your neighbourhood?”

I thought for a moment and then answered: “The Hammond Mill”. It’s not scenic, it’s not pretty, it doesn’t have any quaint visual qualities, but  it is the reason that Hammond exists. It’s employed generations of Hammond folks and has been an integral part of the Hammond community for over 100 years. It may have no visual aspects that are reminiscent of the past, but the fact that it is there and still running and still employing people is a tremendous achievement and an asset to Hammond.

Later, as Chris and I were dragged around Hammond by the DogBeast, we talked of the great potential of “downtown” Hammond, the stretch of Maple Meadows across from the mill. We (Hammond folks) have the potential to have a small local commercial enclave that is within walking distance for most people in  Hammond. In most neighbourhoods this is impossible to surmount. In Hammond the infrastructure is already in place.

We have intuitive boundaries

During one of the excercises at the seminar today, I talked to a person who was frustrated because she couldn’t identify the boundaries or the centre of her neighbourhood. There were few obvious landmarks or “shared spaces”.

I understand why she feels that way. I’ve lived in places like that. We’re lucky in Hammond because we have very obvious  geographical and historical boundaries. Hammond starts at the Fraser River. Go south, get wet. We have big arterial roads to the north, smaller ones to the east and west.

port_hamm_mapThese boundaries aren’t exclusionary. Over the last year with Hammond Neighbours, I have often been asked: “I live at XXX. Is that part of Hammond?”

My answer is always “Sure”. If you want to be a part of Hammond, you’re in. But nevertheless we have a sense of a geographical boundary, an area that comprises “Hammond”. We know where Hammond is. It defines us.

We are a mix of people

Hammond has nutty demographics. There are young families, and there’s the elderly lady up the street who has the beautiful beds of marigolds and wax begonias every begoniayear. (She planted purple petunias this year instead of red begonias. It is bothering me. It is supposed to be red begonias.)

Hammond is historically a working-class neighbourhood. Even now the mix doesn’t include fancy-schmancy rich-people houses, although there are many beautiful heritage houses that the owners have lovingly fixed up. Interspersed with those jewels there are (relatively) inexpensive townhouse and apartment complexes. Hammond Park is a perfect example of Hammond’s diversity. Some of the nicest heritage houses in Hammond face onto the park, as does a townhouse complex, the neighbourhood convenience store and some rental houses.

There are many empty lots in Hammond. Development is inevitably coming. I feel, though, that Hammond is very well positioned to integrate a diversity of development styles, and is particularly able to welcome density that fits with and enhances the character of the area.

We have character

Yeah, that character thing… As Chris and I were walking (being dragged by DogBeast) around today, we noted many fun weird things that we see all the time but that are unique to Hammond. There’s the folks in Lower Hammond who have done up their mobile home with cedar siding (and it looks great!); the odd extensions and build-outs to the mill-worker houses (mostly done before the era of building permits); the church converted into a house; the old store-front in “downtown” where the resident has built a beautiful sidewalk garden.

Hammond has a “feel”. Working-class, practical, unpretentious, quirky. An enclave. A community.


 Posted by at 1:01 am
Apr 232013

Birthday CakeThere are a couple of new pages on the website that will help us organize the Hammond 130 birthday party:

If you can help us accomplish any of the items on the timeline, please get in touch (either via the Facebook group page or by emailing me). We’ll also need some volunteers on party day. If you have ideas for other activities, please also get in touch. The group that is organizing the party can’t take on any more projects, but we would love to help you put your idea together!

Also, if there are any clever graphic designers out there, we’d love a fun “Hammond 130” logo for the event.

photo by: Will Clayton
 Posted by at 11:14 am
Apr 012013

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Parks and Leisure Services will be hosting an open house to display a concept plan for a new park to be situated in the Hammond neighbourhood; Wharf Street Park, 20208 Wharf Street, at Hazelwood Street. The steering committee has put together a concept plan with supporting information, and Parks and Leisure staff and steering committee members will be on-hand at the open house to answer questions. More information

 Posted by at 8:07 pm
Feb 272013


(This is the first post from the Hammond Girl Guides. We hope they will be regular contributors to the Hammond Neighbours website.)

Hands Across the Border is an event that takes place at the international Peace Arch border every second Sunday in June. This event has been going on for 90 years and they have only canceled it because of World War 2 (for 2 years) and the major construction for the border (for 2 years).

If you don’t know what Hands Across the Border is it’s when Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and other youth groups get the chance to trade crafts and meet with new people. The twist to this is that the people you get to meet are from Canada and America so it’s not just you meeting the same people from your district.

I’ve been in the Guiding community for 6 years now and I’ve been to Hands Across the Border 4 times and it has to be one of my favourite things about being in Guiding. Unfortunately this year a press release was sent out saying that due to lack of volunteers and money Hands across the border will be permanently canceled.

Cheyenne, 1st Port Hammond Pathfinders

(Guiders Note: Cheyenne is hoping to organize an event to help save Hands Across the Border which has been a favourite event for many girls in Port Hammond District. Look for updates!)

photo by: Aidan Jones
 Posted by at 12:28 am
Feb 262013

Red PrincessWith the loss of the United Church in Hammond, we lost our Spring Plant Sale. I relied on the annual plant sale to stock up on annuals and  often found interesting perennials, along with lots of good advice from the volunteers. As an avowed cheapskate, I loved the “$1 Dahlia” basket. You pays your money and you takes your chances. The plants were always a big surprise – is it a tiny, delicate, spiky-petaled little beauty, or a great big dinner-plate monstrosity?

The West Ridge Good Neighbours group has invited the Hammond folks to their plant swap on April 7. Don’t be shy … pull up some ground covers, divide a hosta, dig up some bulbs and come have some fun! If you don’t have plants to share just now and would like some, bring some cookies or something else garden-related to swap.

photo by: lansakit
 Posted by at 11:54 pm
Feb 262013

Retired ForeverFrom our indefatigable correspondent Leanne Koehn:

“We had a good Wharf Street Park steering committee meeting tonight. Good energy, good ideas, good times. We looked at the survey results from the public meeting last week and guided Bruce and Sylvia toward the next step.

“A common theme (among many) from the surveys was using natural materials. Someone suggested stumps or other large pieces of wood connecting to Hammond Mill. One idea we had was some kind of climbing wall, perhaps incorporated into the retaining wall along the east side of the park. I suggested using artifacts from the history of Hammond as hand-holds or just touchable pieces of living history permanently attached.

“I was assigned the role of sourcing appropriate objects so…does anyone have any old tools or implements–not dangerous ones (no saws, please)–that they’d like to donate to the park? If you look at it and imagine someone telling their grandchild about it, I’d like to hear about it!”


photo by: Rennett Stowe
 Posted by at 11:17 pm
Feb 192013

meetingThe Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Parks and Leisure Service hosted a meeting tonight at the Hammond Community Centre to discuss the new park at 20208 Wharf Street. About 50 Hammondonians (Hammondans? Hammonders?) attended.

About the Meeting

The meeting was chaired by Bruce McLeod, Manager of Parks Planning and Development (bmcleod@mapleridge.ca), with several other folks from the municipality in attendance. There were displays with photos and maps showing the location and current situation of the land. Everyone was given a questionnaire asking their opinions about current and desired leisure activities. Even if you couldn’t attend the meeting, you can still fill out the survey and submit it by Feb 23. There’s a scan of the survey at the bottom of this post that you can print.

Bruce McLeod started the presentation by describing the strategy and philosophy of parks in Maple Ridge. There are several park classifications, from “neighbourhood” parks (which are intended to promote and extend recreational and communal values within a small area) through municipal, regional, and provincial levels of parks. (I’ve got the terminology wrong, but you get what I mean – neighbourhood parks are local, municipal parks draw people from a larger area, etc. These classifications affect issues like parking, traffic, zoning, etc.)

About the Park

Regarding the land on Wharf Street, it was acquired by the municipality some years ago. It’s a small lot, but it’s adjacent to a right-of-way for Hazelwood Ave that runs down to the river. Some of that space can be included in the park (although the pump station must continue to be accessible).

The first development plans for the park occurred 10 years ago. Since then, the parks department has been accumulating money allocated from the capital fund. There is enough money now ($239,000) to move ahead with developing the park. Because of the amount of time that has passed since the land was initially designated, the district is re-doing the consultation process to make sure that the plan fits with the current community.

The Process

  1. Planning Meeting: The meeting that was held tonight.
  2. Steering Committee: People volunteer to be part of the steering committee that determines the concept of the park. You can be on the steering committee regardless of whether or not you attended the meeting tonight. Email Bruce McLeod, Manager of Parks Planning and Development (bmcleod@mapleridge.ca) to participate.
    1. Feb 25: First meeting of the steering committee.
    2. Week of March 4: Next meeting.
    3. Week of March 11: Last meeting.
  3. Open House: The results of the steering committee are presented at an open house at the municipal hall. Comments are invited.
  4. Parks and Recreation Commission: Parks and Rec reviews the plan.
  5. Maple Ridge Council: Council reviews / approves the plan.
  6. Drawings and Specifications

The objective is to start building the park this summer.

Questions and Answers

Is the budget available?

Yes. The funding has been gathered over the last 5 – 7 years.

What happened to the old plan / concept from 10 years ago?

Given the time it has taken to save the money to make the park, it made sense to redo the consultation process.

What about the safety aspects of river access?

This is a design consideration. It may be necessary to prevent water access, but river access is already widely available (including under the bridge a short distance away).

What about the right-of-way?

Some of that land will probably be incorporated into the park, as long as required access is maintained.

Can we keep some of the blackberries?


What about the traffic on Wharf Street?

Traffic problems aren’t part of the park department’s responsibilities. However, the folks who do traffic management will be consulted, and people with concerns should email dboag@mapleridge.ca.

Is this a foot / bike park?

Yes. This is a neighborhood park. There won’t be any parking. Parking is not an option on Wharf Street. It’s expected that people will access the park via walking or biking.

Will there be fill to raise the land levels?

Yes, to a degree. There will probably need to be some restraining structures. The area is lower than the surrounding lots.

Is the size of the lot a problem?

Part of the concept plan is figuring out how to make a small space useful and enjoyable.

What about the giant kitty litter sand-pile?

Annoying, but beyond the scope of this meeting.

Can we connect with existing bike paths and the “Experience the Fraser” initiative?

That needs to be part of the planning process. We definitely need to connect to the biking and walking paths in Pitt Meadows.

Will there be a washroom?

No. Neighbourhood parks are too small to warrant the expense.

How will we deal with night access / problems with vandals, etc?

Lack of lighting helps to limit night activity. A gate is not really secure or feasible. There won’t be any parking, which helps the security situation. The area will be highly visible to near-by residents, which improves security.

How about including natural elements in the park?

There may be corporate grants available for including natural elements (stumps, indigenous plants, etc) in the park. The Steering Committee will be responsible for figuring this out.


If I misunderstood or misheard anything, or if you would like to expand on any specific points, please feel free to do so in the comments.




 Posted by at 1:08 am
Feb 162013

Woohoo! We’re gonna have a river-side park on Wharf Street! From the district’s letter to nearby residents:wharfParkMap

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Parks and Leisure Services will be hosting an information meeting to discuss design and potential development of a neighbourhood park. The park is proposed for the property located at 20208 Wharf Street, east of Hazelwood Street.

The meeting will provide an opportunity for you to give input into the design of this neighbourhood park.

The format of the meeting will be an open house with information panels, and a short presentation of neighbourhood park design starting at 7:15 pm.

A steering committee will be formed to review the results of information gathered at this meeting, and any subsequent neighbourhood survey, to assist in developing a concept plan. This concept plan will be presented at a future open house.

Monday, February 18th, 2013, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, Hammond Community Centre

Here’s what it looks like today:


 Posted by at 6:38 pm