Old homes recycled to make way for park

Will feature exercise equipment, pond

On a quiet part of 222nd Street, just north of downtown, excavators have ripped up lawns and driveways and ground up the concrete foundations of five old homes.

In their place next year will be new lawns, landscaping, pathways, trees and grass, a fitness station, playground equipment and a small basketball court so people in the inner city will have a place to relax or exercise.

It’s the District of Maple Ridge’s latest park, at 120th Avenue, and it hasn’t yet got a name, but it’s one that will bring some green space where there are growing numbers of condo dwellers.

While the end result will be green, so too is much of the demolition process.

The majority of what used to be the old houses will be recycled, said Bruce McLeod, parks manager for Maple Ridge.

“The contractor is separating the material so that when he loads the wood debris … up to 85 per cent is being recycled,” he added.

“So, really, when they do the demolition here, all the house can be recycled.”

When beginning the tear-down, the insulation and any hazardous material, such as asbestos, was first safely removed.

Next, the homes were stripped of their metal contents, such as wiring and plumping pipes. Vinyl or plastic was next, followed by drywall, which was pulled down from the walls and hauled away separately for recycling into more drywall.

The old window frames were taken out and could be sold to a second-hand building material store. That left the empty, wood frames standing, ready for the bulldozer, which mowed them down and put them into piles ready for shipment to a nearby mill, where the scrap lumber will be turned into hog fuel and used for heating greenhouses.

Even the concrete foundations were crushed on site and will be used as base material for parts of the park, McLeod said. That process spares having to haul them away and dumping them somewhere.

Given the fees for disposing of waste, the above practices now are common on most demolition sites, McLeod said.

“Most demolition [companies] today are looking for the opportunity to recycle material.”

Most of the downtown site is now cleared, with only a few piles of the pulverized concrete foundations remaining. That will allow work to start on constructing the $310,000 park that should be done within a year.

An existing ditch on the site will be redesigned into a wetland pond that will drain into a nearby stream. The district also has other lots on the north side of 121st Avenue designated as park, but has only bought one of them.

The remaining few lots will be acquired over time if the owners decide to sell them to the district, to allow expansion of the park.

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