The cost to develop a new park on the site of the former Anita Place Tent City, is about the same as the cost to remediate the site, Mayor Mike Morden noted Tuesday.
Maple Ridge council heard that the remediation bill for cleaning up the site on 223rd Street, before park development can even begin, will be about $366,000.
But the remediation process will go quickly, as will development of the park itself, which is expected to open next May, with a name yet to be decided.
The remediaton costs are a result of having to remove the top level of soil from the site, to ensure no debris is remaining, before park development begins.
That will follow an earlier sweep and disposal of litter of the entire site by parks staff.
Soil sampling was also conducted of the site and showed three small locations to be contaminated with iron and zinc, likely the result of former residences there, said Valoree Richmond, acting director of parks and facilities.
Results from that sampling showed that the soil “meets the requirements for public use. So there are no other issues with contamination in the soil,” said Richmond.
Acting general manager of parks, recreation and culture, David Boag, said that the metal-contaminated soil from the three small areas will be hauled off site for treatment, while the top level of soil will be taken to landfill.
Once the site has been remediated, sometime around February, new soil will be brought on to the location and park development will begin.
Remediation costs are estimated at $366,000 but that includes a 20 per cent contingency.
Coun. Gordy Robson noted that 223rd Street from Lougheed Highway to St. Anne Avenue, used to be the location of Maple Ridge’s soap box derby. “Maybe we should call it Soap Box Derby Park,” Robson said.
Robson added that he’d like to see the CEED Centre grounds, on the site’s northern border, incorporated into the park.
Boag told council that if people try to re-occupy the site, that city bylaws and RCMP will work to enforce the Trespass Act.
Consultation with the neighbourhood on the park started in May 2017, the same month the park became the site of the tent city.
But acting CAO Kelly Swift said the main reason the camp began was because the temporary emergency shelter on Lougheed Highway had closed.
Anita Place Tent City was emptied of all but a few residents on March after a fire safety order.
In September, the last few residents moved out after Garibaldi Ridge supportive housing complex opened on Burnett Street. Most of council had opposed that project.
Coun. Chelsa Meadus wanted to know what steps will be taken to discourage people sleeping in the park. “I’m hoping we can do something unique with this park,” she said.