Councillors say the city’s Community Social Safety Initiative will address safety.

Councillors say the city’s Community Social Safety Initiative will address safety.

Pocket parks, walkability, safety are highlights of Maple Ridge downtown vision

Homelessness and crime could undermine vision for city says Robson

Maple Ridge council was presented with a vision of a town centre that has a canopy of trees, is safe and well lit, with neighbourhoods that are connected and walkable right down to the Fraser River Waterfront.

The recent Town Centre Visioning Report builds on city hall’s 2008 Town Centre Area Plan. The new vision is based on extensive community feedback, and aims to “Create a more vibrant area, and a strong sense of place,” staff told council.

Dialogue Consulting’s Emily Rennalls presented the work to council on Tuesday. She addressed the issue of safety after dark.

“We heard from folks who lived in the town centre that they don’t feel unsafe living there, and of course we heard from visitors who felt differently,” said the consultant, and recommended pedestrian-scale lighting downtown.

Coun. Gordy Robson said safety is clearly an issue.

“Numbers of businesses have left our downtown because they don’t want their wife and kids working in their stores downtown because they are absolutely terrified for them,” he said. “There are many businesses now that are locking their doors.”

Robson said there is an influx of street people from Vancouver, and their move to Maple Ridge was promoted by the provincial government.

“We can do all of these other things, but if we have hundreds of homeless walking around causing disruption nobody is going to survive downtown in a business,” said Robson, and added the city needs to protect merchants from violent shoplifters, and people who “just walk in and take things.”

“There’s nothing more undermining to a community, or to an area, as when there’s violent people who feel that they own it – they can do whatever they want.

“We have not yet found a way to deal with those. It’s happening daily, in a number of our stores.”

Robson said he hopes the report, and new leadership at the Ridge Meadows RCMP, will be the impetus for change.

Coun. Chelsa Meadus said crime and homelessness will be tackled by the city’s Community Social Safety Initiative (CSSI), which is well underway.

“With the resources that we’ve deployed, I think we’re going to see some considerable changes, if we were to revisit this at the same time of year next year,” predicted Meadus.

READ ALSO: Maple Ridge redirects $225,000 from RCMP to community safety needs

Outdoor patios could become more popular. Coun. Ahmed Yousef called the support for temporary patios downtown “music to my ears,” and he also supported connections to river and walkability.

“In our business workshop we heard about how, before Covid, a lot of people just saw the town centre as someplace to drive through, and through this temporary patio initiative folks are now lingering and staying,” said Rennalls. “And there’s opportunity, an exciting one, to extend that experience beyond 224th, closer to the waterfront and more.”

The public consultation, which was conducted last fall, identified three major themes:

• Linking downtown attractions – downtown attractions such as Memorial Peace Park, Haney House and Port Haney Wharf could be linked by improved wayfinding, to create a better experience for pedestrians.

• Citizens highlighted a desire for pocket parks and plazas, to provide places for people of all ages to gather. These spaces could also be used to host community events. More stores, cafes, pop-up experiences and entertainment venues were proposed to entice visitors to the town centre to linger and explore.

• Residents supported the expansion of CSSI projects to provide a feeling of security.

“This report lays an exciting foundation for the revitalization of our downtown core,” said Mayor Mike Morden. “Council is eager to continue making the town centre a vibrant and complete community by attracting investment and enhancing livability.”

Since 2005, nearly 4,000 new residents have moved to the town centre. Today, the population is approaching 12,000 people. Over the past five years, more than 67 development projects have been approved in the area, while more than 78 others are expected to be complete within the next two to three years.

READ ALSO: Developments in Maple Ridge town centre forever change landscape

Staff will prepare an implementation plan for the recommendations made in the report, to be reviewed by council in a future meeting.

Have a story tip? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

City Halldevelopmentmaple ridge

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An early morning fire forced the evacuation of a Maple Ridge apartment building on Saturday, April 3 (Deborah Hampton/Special to The News)
City of Maple Ridge thanks volunteers for response to Easter weekend blaze

Emergency Support Services volunteers stepped up to help displaced residents

A partial image from the painting Kanaka Creek by Eric Hotz, which in the exhibit at the Pitt Meadows Art Gallery.
A Study of Nature exhibition opens at Pitt Meadows Art Gallery

Eric Hotz paintings feature familiar scenes from across the Lower Mainland

Shannon Belsito took this photo on Thursday morning, indicating the true arrival of spring. “Feeling the inspiring beauty and freshness of spring with these gorgeous magnolia blossoms near Kanaka Creek that just popped after the rain.” (Special to The News)
SHARE: Spring has arrived in all its splendor

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

A small memorial to Rich Goulet was started at Pitt Meadows Secondary after his recent death. (Neil Corbett/The News)
LETTER: Rename Pitt Meadows school gym in coach’s honour

Rich Goulet was considered one of the provinces best basketball coaches and died recently

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Surrey RCMP are seeking the public's help to locate three puppies stolen from a South Surrey home on April 10. (Surrey RCMP photos)
Puppies stolen during weekend break-and-enter in South Surrey

Surrey RCMP seeking public’s assistance in locating three American Bulldog puppies

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

Mounties say they “corralled” four Ford Mustangs April 4 after an officer saw the muscle cars racing down 184 Street near 53 Avenue at about 10 p.m. (File Photo)
Mounties impound four Mustangs

Surrey RCMP say they seized four cars for street racing

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

Most Read