A new community park in Maple Ridge, formerly a homeless camp, will open at the end of the month and be named for a pioneer family.
Maple Ridge council has announced the new neighbourhood recreation space in historic Port Haney as Beckett Park, recognizing a founding family who moved to Maple Ridge in 1885 and successfully ran the Haney Brick and Tile Company.
The site on St. Anne Avenue served as the Anita Place Tent City from May 2017 until it closed in September 2019. There has been site remediation, including removal of the top layer of soil and a sanitary sewer vault.
The new park will be completed at the end of July, says the city, and feature a small off-leash area for dogs, a sports court, playground, pedestrian pathways, scooter track and other amenities for the neighbourhood to enjoy, said a city press release.
It will also feature an information marker about the Beckett family and their deep history in the Port Haney neighbourhood.
“Council is pleased to honour its commitment to provide this greatly needed amenity to the residents of Port Haney, recognizing that there have been some significant challenges for this neighbourhood over the last couple of years,” said Mayor Mike Morden. “We look forward to celebrating the opening of this park, an event that will celebrate an important milestone for the community.”
City staff engaged the Maple Ridge Museum and Archives for the history of the Port Haney neighbourhood to determine if there were families associated with these lands. Council selected the name Beckett Park in recognition of the contributions of Henry Robert Beckett and his family.
Henry Beckett was partially responsible for the establishment of Fraser Brick Works, which eventually became the Haney Brick, Tile and Terra Cotta Company in 1891.
Henry’s eldest son, Ernest Beckett took the position of municipal clerk for the town in 1895, a position he would hold, on and off, for 22 years. Ernest was also active in the Maple Ridge Agricultural Association.
Walter, Henry’s youngest son, called Port Haney home for more than 50 years.
More information on the Beckett family can be found at mapleridgemuseum.org/henry-robert-beckett-family/.