The old Maple Ridge Pool and Spa building is no more, having fallen quickly to a backhoe Tuesday at the busy corner of Lougheed Highway and the Haney Bypass.
The building was on the front lines of the Cliff Avenue homeless camp in 2015 as owners Ben and Joanne Pinkney tried to keep their business going while having the tent camp on their doorstep.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure bought the property for $1.7 million. The department needs the property for its reconstruction of the interchange at that corner.
Lisa Durante-Sullivan, who lives on Cliff Avenue, was happy to see the building taken down. She said in the last few months, homeless people had started to hang around the building, which had recently been vacated.
Maple Ridge and the ministry have been negotiating for months about the final design for the intersection, with the city asking the ministry to also include the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries property, to allow what it considered a proper reconstruction of the corner.
But Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Lisa Beare said in early October that tenders are about to be issued for the reconstruction, which still only includes a single right-hand turn lane eastbound from Lougheed Highway on to the Haney Bypass.
“People have waited long enough to get the Haney Bypass upgraded. I appreciate the concerns raised by the Maple Ridge council and understand the ministry has worked with the city to redesign the project and will be moving ahead with tendering in the coming weeks,” Beare said previously.
Durante-Sullivan, who also had the Cliff Avenue tent city on the doorstep of her house, said emergency vehicles have been up and down Cliff Avenue regularly in the last few weeks, responding to calls.
Residents also have to regularly repair the fence that separates the road from the bush below, following its construction after the camp was disbanded in 2015.