Maple Ridge is halfway towards creating a new park south of downtown, next to the Haney Bypass in Port Haney.
And with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure willing to help out by leasing out the remaining portion of the land needed for the park, Port Haney residents now could become involved in planning its future.
The triangle-shaped property at 22277 St. Anne Ave., was identified several years ago as a park site in the Smart Growth on the Ground plan, says a staff report.
A recent city report recommends that council sign a long-term lease with the ministry for the property, after which design work can begin.
Possible uses for the property bordered by the Haney Bypass, which forms the hypotenuse of the triangle, include a community garden, off-leash area or playground.
Planning would also involve input from the South Haney Residents’ Association.
The city owns two of four parcels in the area and tried to buy the other two parcels from the ministry, but the province didn’t want to sell.
However, it’s willing to sign a long-term lease, allowing the city to use the land.
A lease agreement is ready for approval by council.
Port Haney resident John McKenzie worried that the park might attract homeless people, but then agreed it would be an improvement for the area.
One possible outcome from creating such a park is that if improvements are made to the property, such as installing a playground, that would mean the park would qualify under the city’s new bylaw that regulates camping.
People can camp in city parks between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., providing they’re not near a playground or sports field.
The city passed the bylaw this spring after court rulings allowed people to camp in city parks if there are no shelters available.
About $366,000 has been budgeted for the park.