News Views: Red carpet

Maple Ridge is perfectly positioned to be one of Target’s first Canadian targets.

The district is just about embark on the third phase of the downtown renovation project, which has so far seen water fountains added to Memorial Peace Park, new sidewalks, benches and lamp posts, decorative stamped-concrete crosswalks and sidewalk mosaics, as well as new trees, not to mention water and sewer improvements and fibre optic lines buried beneath the new pavement.

The final part of the project, from the park on 224th Street to Dewdney Trunk Road, will take place in February and March.

In all, the project – funded by the municipal, provincial and federal governments – cost $5.6 million.

And it only enhances the view of the big beautiful brick box that is the anchor of Haney Place Mall.

Not even the urban-looking bank that just opened at the corner of 224th Street can hide it.

But there is hope. Target Corp. purchased 220 Zellers stores across Canada last week for $1.8 billion. The U.S. retailer plans to spend about a billion more to renovate and convert at least 150 of them to Target stores.

We hope the downtown Maple Ridge mall is in its crosshairs.

With all the street renovations, the new bank at the mall and a pending announcement of a new major tenant there, all the new apartments and townhouses being build around downtown, the dismantling of Northumberland court, plans for a hotel at the south end of 224th Street, as well as new incentives such as tax exemptions and fee discounts for developers to build downtown, the time is right to fix up the mall.

We think all the discussion over the Albion flats has shown clearly the need for more commercial development in Maple Ridge.

Forget the welcome mat, the district should roll out the red carpet for Target.

– The News