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Green Team wants fee-for-service partnership with the City of Maple Ridge

Group kicked off their season by removing Himalayan blackberry plants from Reg Franklin Park
Megan Walker, program coordinator with the Lower Mainland Green Team with new educational plant signs. (Lower Mainland Green Team/Special to The News)

The Lower Mainland Green Team is hoping the City of Maple Ridge will approve a fee for service program to help them expand the work they do in the community.

An agreement would provide sustainable funding to the Alouette River Management Society, ARMS, and the charity Green Teams of Canada.

“This will enable us to offer monthly activities in Maple Ridge that build community, improve health and well-being, and inspire lifelong environmental stewardship, something that is needed now more than ever,” said Andrea Robles, program coordinator with the Lower Mainland Green Team.

The city’s parks team is responsible for maintaining 247 hectares of parks, greenbelts and open spaces, more than 210 kilometres of trails, and 70 parks across the community.

Maintenance of these green spaces require specialized skills and equipment which fall under the role of city staff, explained Valoree Richmond, director of facilities, parks and properties.

However, said Richmond, from time to time, the city supports a number of community and volunteer led initiatives, such as replanting native species or pulling invasive plants in parks and greenbelt areas, that are supplemental to the work of our crews.

“These efforts complement and enhance the work of our staff to keep our parks, trails and green spaces maintained and cleaned,” she said, also noting that these programs also help build a sense of community pride, engagement, environmental stewardship and volunteerism which builds a stronger community.

By collaborating with volunteer groups, added Richmond, cities can extend their stewardship efforts and maximize the care and upkeep of urban green spaces for the benefit of all residents.

The city has received two funding requests from ARMS. The first request, said Richmond, is for annual funding, which forms part of the City’s 2024 budget process. The second request is for support of additional stewardship activities, which ARMS conducts in partnership with the Lower Mainland Green Team.

“Additional funds may be available through community grants and the city is in the process of reviewing our application process for community grants and donations. Once this process is in place, the city will ensure all organizations are aware of available funding and have the opportunity to apply,” Richmond said.

Over the weekend, a group of volunteers gave Reg Franklin Park in Maple Ridge some tender loving care.

Around 56 bathtubs of the invasive Himalayan blackberry plant, or nine cubic metres, were removed from the park by 43 members of the community and more than 35 native shrubs were planted including snowberry, hardhack, nootka rose and red-twig dogwood.

The volunteers included people of ages, backgrounds, and experience. Students from LaSalle College helped out and some newcomers from Iran and Turkey – and City Coun. Ahmed Yousef, who is also a member of ARMS.

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“I want to extend my gratitude for you all coming out, putting your time and efforts into our beautiful community and maintaining this pristine nature that we’re so blessed to have. It’s amazing to see how we can come together, bond, and really enjoy what we have and give back to our nature ultimately and to our community. I love to see the next generation getting involved, they’re why we’re doing what we’re doing,” he told the volunteers.

At the clean-up the group debuted their new educational plant signs – a project involving Lower Mainland Green Team program coordinator Megan Walker and artist and illustrator Vicky Earle who created 10 unique signs which will be displayed at future activities.

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This was the kickoff of the season for the team who will be planning events throughout the spring and summer.

The Lower Mainland Green Team is a program of the charity Green Teams of Canada and works to empower diverse communities through hands-on outdoor activities.

Their next events will be taking place on Saturday, March 30, and Sunday April 21, at Hoffman Park in Pitt Meadows.

To help out, sign up at: or email:

The News has reached out to the City of Maple Ridge for comment

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