The poles start at 203rd Street.

The poles start at 203rd Street.

Metal maples adorn district’s entrance

Seven decorative poles along Dewdney Trunk Road cost Maple Ridge $10,000

When you’re driving east on Dewdney Trunk Road, you’ll definitely know when you’ve crossed the border into Maple Ridge, just before 203rd Street.

Beginning at just west of 203rd, seven decorative poles have been installed into the median with metal maple leaf sculptures on the top of each.

The new street fixtures had the Facebook group Council Watch wondering why and how much they cost taxpayers.

“It would be nice to know what it was all about, if it has a purpose,” said Katherine Wagner, who first posted a picture on the Facebook page.

“If it’s for beautification, why not plant trees?” she asked.

“Maybe they’re going to hold hanging baskets, but they don’t look high enough.”

The posting on Facebook drew several comments, with cost a concern.

“Can anybody from council [Mayor Ernie Daykin, Couns. Mike Morden, Corisa Bell] explain to us what this is, what is the purpose of this hood ornament and, more importantly, how much did this cost the taxpayers?” asked Todd Oliver.

“So for this they dipped into the cookie jar … again … surprise taxpayers,” said Lynn Halstead.

Total installed costs came to $10,054.26, said district spokesperson Fred Armstrong. That works out to $1,436 per pole.

He said the poles were installed as decorative elements at the entrance to Maple Ridge.

Pacific Bending in the Albion Industrial Area used the same maple leaf design as was used for the fencing around the Haney bus loop to come up with the designs.

Originally, the concept called for just the circular maple leaf cut out in metal, but that looked too bare so the leaves were added.

Armstrong explained that decorative banners aren’t allowed on B.C. Hydro poles, so this was one way to welcome people as they enter town.

The colour of the leaves change from green to orange to red as they move east.

“It’s like the changing colours of the leaves.”

Armstrong said many options were considered for the section of the road.

But planters won’t be hung as they would jut out above the road, and would have required crews to water them, which would have been dangerous on the busy road.

Trees would have been too wide, he added, while there was no electrical supply in the median for lights.

“The solution had to be something that required very low maintenance.”