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Old buildings, new social media get Maple Ridge heritage commission awards

The Billy Minor pub won a heritage award. - The NEWS/files
The Billy Minor pub won a heritage award.
— image credit: The NEWS/files

Creating a heritage revitalization agreement to preserve one of Maple Ridge’s famous landmarks could be expected to win a nod for heritage preservation, which is what the Billy Miner Pub and Ale House did Wednesday at the awards night sponsored by Maple Ridge’s Community Heritage Commission.

The pub’s new owners, Alpenhaus Restaurants Ltd., signed the deal with the district that ensures preservation of the building (built originally in 1911 as the Bank of Montreal) and received the Heritage Building Award.

Earning a similar award for using social media in heritage preservation, is another thing.

But that’s what Kathy McIntosh did with her “We Call it Haney!” Facebook group.

She received the Sheila Nickols Heritage Achievement Award for Community History for creating the group which has united Haneyites near and far in promoting and recognizing the history of the region.

Heritage commission chair Craig Speirs liked both projects.

The Facebook group “has been amazing,” he said.

The Facebook group started out as a small project and has turned into a heritage resource for the whole community. The group uses social media to reach out to all those interested to get their tips on tracing the past.

The group is used by the municipality, as well as those in within Haney, and outside its boundaries.

“We’re really starting to mature and these things are starting to become more important,” Speirs said.

Keeping an old house intact in east Maple Ridge, on River Road and 269th Street also earned Trudi Desrochers and Steve Bentley a Heritage Building Award.

They’ve largely kept the house the same as it was when Brian and Isabel Byrnes lived there. One of those measures involved replacing the roof with cedar shakes, as it was originally furnished.

Maple Ridge staff also picked up an award for their work creating the heritage tour signs that point out historical notes throughout the downtown.

Michael Eng, Lisa Zosiak and Fred Armstrong along with Cailin Green of Avalon Design received the Heritage Landscape Award.

Thanks to help from Val Patenaude at the Maple Ridge Museum for providing the historical content, the district created information signs for posting around town, creating a Haney Heritage Tour in 2011.

Those signs complemented the four historical mosaics already embedded in the new sidewalks along 224th Street and Lougheed Highway.

Those mosaics, created by Bruce Walther and Ann Wilson, assisted by Dylan Hartley, also got their own Heritage Landscape Award.

The two most recent mosaics profiled Berryland Canning – where plums, peaches pears and apples grown in Maple Ridge were processed. Berryland – located just west of 237th Street and Dewdney Trunk Road, was the largest cannery in Maple Ridge a century ago.

The Abernethy and Lougheed Logging Company (Allco Park) also got a mosaic because of its unique railway system, which even drew a visit from Sir Winston Churchill.

Speirs said it’s now time to start fundraising for a new museum, which is crowded and lacks storage space. Archives and artifacts have to be stored in other locations.

One possible location is on a district-owned lot on 224th Street, uphill from Haney House, but the district has yet to put the project, which could cost at least $15 million, into its long-term plans.

Maple Ridge Historical Society chairperson Faye Isaac pointed out there has to be a commitment to a building before the society can start fundraising.

She doesn’t care where it goes. Building the museum in Memorial Peace Park was considered when the district was hearing ideas for developing its remaining piece of land next to the Zeller’s parking lot. But that’s been recently renovated and relandscaped.

A preliminary design for a new museum and archives was created in 2005 and was projected to cost $7 million, with that price to rise by 15 per cent every year.

“We just want a museum. It’s not a want – it’s a need for this community,” said Isaac.

Isaac said with the Art Centre Theatre and leisure centre now open, and Pitt Meadows Arena renovated, “personally, I feel it’s the museum’s time.”

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