Maple Ridge council has decided, for now, what to do with the grassy, treed lot that most assume is part of Memorial Peace Park.
When the old park was renovated, the bandstand and cenotaph relocated and the overgrown pond removed, the lot in front of the Leisure Centre was supposed to be used for a hotel. But plans for that never materialized.
The district accepted a few suggestions at a recent open house concerning the patch of grass, which provides shade during lunch in the summer, is used to park classic cars during Canada Day celebrations and pitch tents during swim meets. And it is used heavily during the Haney Farmers’ Market, the society for which wants to keep the lot as is.
The Maple Ridge Historical Society, however, wants a new museum built on it. It has been lobbying for a new building for several years, but is continually told there is no money set aside for such. Meanwhile, a good part of the museum’s archives are stored away in boxes and basements, because the existing museum building along the bypass is too small.
But there seems to be little appetite on council, other than Mike Morden, to put a new museum on the downtown lot.
Coun. Cheryl Ashlie likes the idea of a spray park there. But that’s probably not a good idea considering the district already had trouble with people bathing in the park’s water fountains.
Council still has leftover federal and provincial grant money that it has to use or lose before the end of October. So it decided Monday to, for now, upgrade the lot to park standards – better drainage lighting and sidewalks, add bike facilities and a large paved area.
Now council can take its time, wait and see and as Target moves in the Bingoplex vacates and other downtown development takes place. A museum could work there, down the road, but for now, preserving green space was the wise move.
– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News