Making room for another new park in Maple Ridge

The new park will have a basketball court and play areas.

The new park will have a basketball court and play areas.

The District of Maple Ridge is continuing on its destructive path, tearing down another five homes this summer, this time to build a new park, just north of Dewdney Trunk Road.

“It’s an area of the community that’s deficient in neighbourhood parks, so we’re anxious to accommodate the need in that part of the community,” said Bruce McLeod, manager of parks and open space.

The new green space, still unnamed, will be at 222nd Street and Church Avenue, just across from Alouette Heights, a new supportive housing project being built, property once used as a park.

So far the district has bought seven lots along 222nd Street, five of which have houses. A concept plan is in place and final approval is about to come from council, which should allow houses to be torn down this summer. After that, it will take only a few weeks to build the park.

“That’s the plan is to try for construction in the fall,” McLeod said.

The construction portion of the park will cost $310,000, plus about another $100,000 for demolition of the homes.

Residents have had their say in the planning process. An information meeting in April drew 13 people, from which four people agreed to sit in on the park design steering committee.

That resulted in a park that will have a half a basketball court and two fenced play areas for tots. Those will be located towards the northern half of the property allowing more open space on the southern part.

Paved pathways will run through the park, trees and grass will be planted, as well as a gravel trail with fitness stations. An existing ditch will be redesigned into a wetland pond that will drain into a nearby stream.

The district also has 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, and allow expansion of the park.

About a dozen old homes along Selkirk Avenue and 227th Street are currently being demolished as the district prepares the three acres it bought last year for sale and development.