Kamp tours downtown Maple Ridge

Randy Kamp looked over the ongoing renovations on 224th Street.

Randy Kamp looked over the ongoing renovations on 224th Street.

Randy Kamp hopes there won’t be a federal election.But just in case, a tour of the downtown highlighting the downtown renovations that were partly funded by his government couldn’t hurt.Kamp along with Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin toured Lougheed Highway and 224th Thursday, surveying the new roads and sidewalks now in place for the downtown and the final stage to be done in a few weeks, in the block between Dewdney Trunk Road and Memorial Peace Park.“I thought it would be a good idea to see the Economic Action Plan, what we got for our money, where this is headed and get an [idea] of the jobs created,” he said as staff marshalled in to Tim Horton’s before the walk.Under the action plan, designed to kickstart Canada out of the 2008-09 recession, Maple Ridge got $1.8 million of the federal funds.The amount was matched by the province and district so it could speed up its rebuilding plan of installing new roads, sidewalks, sewers and utilities along Lougheed between 222nd and 224th streets as well as on 224th Street.The effort created about 100 jobs, tripled the number of street trees and removed heaved chunks of concrete that threatened the ankles of pedestrians.New street lighting and furniture were part of the project, as well as brand new utilities such as water and sewer lines beneath the road.“A big part of economic recovery is consumer confidence,” said Kamp.During the tour, engineering staff noted they even recovered wooden culverts beneath Lougheed, indicating they dated back to the beginning of the 20th century.The district, though, might not be done with the downtown yet.It’s not in the business plan, but the eventual goal is to extend the Lougheed Highway remodelling from 224th to 227th street.The walk also highlighted the efforts of businesses to spruce up their store fronts with new materials, paint and facades. The Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association also dishes out annual grants to businesses to help with such projects.“These upgrades to the downtown core have created local jobs and economic growth,and will improve the services delivered to local residents and businesses inthe area for years to come,” Kamp said in a release.“It is encouraging to see the business community building on the momentum that was created by this investment in our community.