The past year was an interesting one in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, and 2016 promises the same.
The new year started with two new mayors and councils, elected at the end of 2014.
In Maple Ridge, Nicole Read made her stamp immediately, forming committees on government transparency and a homelessness initiative.
The latter led to the formation of a homeless camp on Cliff Avenue and the opening of a new temporary shelter on Lougheed Highway in downtown Maple Ridge.
By all accounts, the downtown is better for it.
But the shelter is set to close at the end of March. Its clients need places to go. Discussions on a permanent facility are also to start in 2016.
The end of 2015 also saw the beginning of talks to borrow up to $110 million to build new parks and recreation facilities, including a new pool, ice rink, soccer fields and stadium. How to pay back debt must be weighed against the need for such facilities.
Another life-altering concept was pitched in Pitt Meadows by Mayor John Becker during the holiday season: building an underpass at the CP Rail tracks on Harris Road.
CP wants to be able to build longer trains, which would conceivably stretch from its intermodal yard across Harris Road.
CP would help pay for this underpass, which would not only give it the ability to link longer trains, but to do so more frequently.
That would create more noise, possibly affecting other neighbourhoods.
Consider also that longer trains mean longer waits at other CP crossings, from the Maple Meadows border to Albion.
Be careful what you wish for, on all fronts.
– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News