Editor, The News:
As an author, teacher and citizen of Maple Ridge, I wish to voice my objection over the rapid and thoughtless development of Maple Ridge’s few remaining green spaces.
Taking away natural areas where trees and wildlife can flourish within the city is destroying what makes Maple Ridge more attractive than other cities in the Lower Mainlan and elsewhere.
I am referring to areas like the green space at 223rd Street and Brown Avenue and two sections along Dewdney Trunk Road.
If you were to stop and observe these green spaces, you might be surprised at how much cooler and better you feel.
The temperature around you drops dramatically as trees, bushes, and wild grasses naturally absorb city heat and the fumes of traffic, recycling it into cool, fresh air.
You would hear the hush of wind in the tree tops followed by the call of chickadees and wrens, sparrows and gold finches. You would see butterflies, bees and other pollinators flying over natural, unplanted wild flowers.
And if you were very aware, you would realize these empty lots are not empty at all, but thriving with life.
This is what the city wants to take away from us?
No, I can’t stand back and remain silent. I must speak up in the hope that others will do the same.
Five years ago, I chose to move my life here because of the presence of trees and undeveloped green spaces as opposed to places like Langley which has been almost entirely paved over with roads, buildings and ugly strip malls.
It’s depressing to live ones life surrounded by gray, lifeless concrete and detrimental to our health as well as the health of our planet.
Natural green spaces give us us fresh air and coold down the temperature of the city during hot, summer days while moderating the cold during the winter.
They absorb excess water and runoff that might otherwise cause flooding and they support birds, squirrels, pollinators and other wildlife that we are fortunate to still have living around us.
All of this we risking through over zealous urban development.
As an avid gardener for more than 30 years, I have noticed the decline of beneficial insects that prevent disease in trees and green life. Pollination in general is down because bees, wasps, butterflies and other pollinators are having a difficult time finding undeveloped spaces to build their homes.
Instead of cutting down whole groves of beautiful trees, why not preserve these spaces as habitat for insects and wildlife?
Cities such as Chicago, London and Melbourne have done this, using widespread planting of wild flowers in empty urban lots and creating pollinator gardens over landfills.
We could do something similar, create for instance, a butterfly garden that Maple Ridge citizens and tourists would visit, or pollinator gardens people could walk through.
We lack a motto for our city, so why not give it one?
We could be Maple Ridge, the Green City, for example, setting an example for other towns and cities across Canada.
All it would take is a little forsight and wisdom from our planning officials at city hall and support from our citizens.