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 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
Jul 312012

One neat idea that we’ve talked about is creating a tool share. (Does everybody really need to own their own chain-saw? Couldn’t we share a pressure canner?) Another idea we’ve talked about is finding a way to connect people in Hammond who need help with people who can provide help (for example, helping someone put in a vegetable garden, or helping someone who is ill and can’t walk their dog).

Enter “The Freeconomy Community“. This site connects up people who have stuff or skills with people who need stuff or skills. There is no charge to join, and no money changes hands. You help a neighbour, and someday a neighbour will help you.

To get started, just sign up for an account, then fill out your profile where you list your location, contact information and the skills, tools or space that you are willing to share. Once you have an account, you can look at a map and see other people near you and their skills and tools.

I have just signed up, so I have no experience to report. However, I’m pretty excited because the Freeconomy Community site provides the infrastructure we need to enable tool- and skill-sharing in Hammond (which would be a hard technical problem to solve by ourselves in anything other than an ad-hoc manner).

 Posted by at 5:04 pm