Port Haney will continue to change

Historic Haney, between the Fraser River and Lougheed Highway, will keep changing and improving, nudged along with a bit of money from the municipality.

On Monday, council approved spending $15,000 to keep the Port Haney Neighbourhood Change Project going for another year.

The project started last year to create a vision for the area and develop a plan for improvement, fix problems and start specific projects.

In its first 10 months, the Port Haney change initiative has drawn about 40 people to its events and has monthly meetings, an e-mail list, a chairperson and spokespeople.

With a framework in place, it has identified safety concerns and addressed them, such as fixing missing street lights, demolishing unsafe buildings, and general cleanup while a subcommittee will look at illegal parking, people running stop signs, speeding and jaywalking across the Haney Bypass.

During Christmas, about 15 residents went carolling and had hot chocolate afterwards at the One Way Club while a cleanup day April 30 hauled out garbage from a municipal lot on 223rd Street.

Plans are in the works for a Port Haney Day celebration in September.

Coun. Mike Morden wanted to see the concept expanded to other communities that could use the same amount of attention.

“To me, there’s no downside to this.”

The project wants to continue its work next year so it can expand its membership and figure out a way of formalizing its existence.

It also wants to take part in the district’s affordable housing strategy.

Coun. Craig Speirs says he’s noticed the difference since the Port Haney project has been active.

“There’s been some major changes, palpable changes, you can tell. This is what it was all about.”

But that improvement could be happening at the expense of other areas, such as 240th Street or farther east, added Coun. Judy Dueck.

“We are definitely seeing an increase in certain behaviours.”

The area is developing a certain amount momentum, added Coun. Linda King.

“I think we need to continue this project.” She moved the recommendation to ask staff to do a budget amendment to find the extra money.

Last year, the project had $25,000 to help pay for a consultant. This year, it needs only $15,000 – $8,000 for consultant’s fees, Port Haney Day, and the parking, speeding and traffic committee, $6,000 for identifying the features of the area and $1,000 for meeting expenses.

Mayor Ernie Daykin said more talk is needed in budget discussions on how to extend the project to other areas.