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
Jan 252013

Now House PresentationOn February 5th at 6:30pm at the Maple Ridge Council Chambers, Lorraine Gauthier of the Now House Project (http://www.nowhouseproject.com/) will make a presentation about communities working together to help local residents reduce their heating costs and help the environment by energy-retrofitting older homes. By banding together, residents can purchase materials, labour and project management expertise in bulk at reduced rates.

The event is free and everyone is welcome. Check out the press release for more information.

 Posted by at 7:49 pm
Jan 092013

How much do you spend to heat your house and heat your water? Imagine your heating costs averaged out to zero and your home stayed a uniform, comfortable temperature all year long. That’s Leanne and my dream for our upcoming home renovation, but it’s exhausting to try to do this on your own.

A few weeks ago I (James Rowley) went to a lecture at SFU that blew me away. Lorraine Gauthier of The Now House Project described how they retro-fitted one house north of Toronto, then five houses in Windsor, then 95 more houses in Windsor so that the houses produced more energy than they consumed over the course of the year. With each renovation they refined their technique and lowered costs. They identified two barriers stopping everyone from doing this: cost and local expertise.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 9:37 pm
Nov 052012

Anyone who drops by the Hammond Community Centre this week or next will notice lots of activity. Landscaping folks from the municipality are working on the gardens, digging out the gnarly old roots and prepping and re-planting the beds.

Cyndy, who has spear-headed the whole community centre project, drew up a “wish list” of things we’d like: new light standards, soil and bark mulch, etc. We had planned to do the gardening work ourselves, but were happily surprised to find that the Parks and Leisure department has jumped right in. We’ll still be donating some plants, but the landscaping folks will be providing the bulk of the plants and labour and have drawn up a great-looking garden plan. They have also extended the paving to make the doors to the main hall easier to access, and will be adding turf to widen the walk-way between the pool and the community centre.

Thanks again to Dave Speers, our contact guy at Parks and Leisure who helps make all this stuff happen. He’ll also be helping us with the next stage of the project, which will include more painting, some new signage, etc.

And huge thanks again to the indefatigable Cyndy – holy smokes, does that woman get stuff done or what?

 Posted by at 9:49 pm
Oct 022012

Last night the Hammond Neighbours Ad-Hoc Self-Appointed Disorganized Organized Committee (HNAHSADOC) got together for a potluck dinner and chat about recent and upcoming events. Dinner featured left-over pop, chips and candy from the July party, big bowls of popcorn, and, yes, some actual real nutritious food. (We feel it’s important to set an example regarding good nutrition.)

Most of the usual suspects were in attendance, plus a couple of new faces. Dave Speers, our handy-dandy municipal liaison and go-to guy was there, as was Tony Cotroneo, Recreation Manager Youth & Neighbourhood Services. Here’s what we talked about:

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 9:39 pm
Jul 292012

The District of Maple Ridge has put out a “Transportation Issues & Opportunities Survey” that asks Maple Ridge residents to submit their opinions, ideas and priorities regarding transportation. Many people have mentioned that safe cycling and walking routes, traffic calming and and transit services are important issues for Hammond residents. Here is a great opportunity to bring your concerns and ideas to the attention of the municipality!

 Posted by at 2:00 pm