A year in review: 2021 in stories Part I

In August 2021, we found you and wrote some emotional and inspiring stories that will continue into the new year

The crisp and loud sound of the wall clock ticking is just another reminder that time doesn’t stop and sometimes, time passes by at 2x speed and everything is a blur. That was 2021 for me in a nutshell. 

However, in August, I found you guys through the Ridge and you made reporting and writing stories worth my while. Grab a hot chocolate and let’s rewind to the highlights of 2021, in stories. 

August

Cooling centres open for Ridge Meadows residents 

As most of B.C was engulfed in the third heat wave of the season in mid-August, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows opened doors to cooling centres so residents could get some much-needed relief. 

Greg Moore Youth Centre, the city’s largest spray parks and Maple Ridge Public Library were open. However, only guide dogs were permitted inside the library. 

In Pitt Meadows, malls, public libraries and Pitt Meadows Family Recreation Centre were open over the weekend. Leashed or pets in carriers were also allowed inside the centre.

Ridge Meadows candidates for 2021 Snap Elections

On August 15, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau announced that the country will be heading for polls on September 20, earlier than the original date of October 2022. 

The incumbent Conservative MP, Marc Dalton was in the race again for the Ridge-Meadows riding and won. These were the candidates. 

Marc Dalton was the MP of the riding before the election and has been elected provincial MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission between 2009 to 2017.

Ahmed Yousef
is currently working as a Maple Ridge city councillor and was the Liberal Party candidate for the riding.

Phil Klapwyk was running for MP for the first time as the NDP candidate for the riding. He has been associated with North America’s largest film union, IATSE Local 891. 

Steve Ranta is a local resident and made a re-appearance on the ballots this year as an independent candidate for the riding.

Juliuss Hoffman was the candidate for The People’s Party of Canada while The Green Party did not have any candidate for the riding.

Maple Ridge real estate relatively stable amid national slide

Although average home prices throughout the region settled at just below $2-million, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows remained popular among the $1-million club to buy a house, a report in August stated. 

“It’s one of the last places you can get a single-family home for $1 million,” explained real estate agent Dianne Fernandes Enns while speaking to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.

Benchmark price for a detached home (till August):

  • Maple Ridge: $1.13 million
  • Pitt Meadows: $1.19 million
  • Metro Vancouver: $1.915 million

RCMP data reveals crime uptick in Ridge Meadows 

The Ridge-Meadows RCMP released their crime data for July which showed an uptick in both property and violent crimes, compared to June.

In Maple Ridge alone, a total of 130 crimes were reported in July. These crimes included assaults, extortion, indecent communication, sex offences and domestic violence. 

In total, 69 assaults were reported compared to 59 cases reported in June, a 17 per cent increase.  

On the contrary, Pitt Meadows did not report an increase in assaults with 10 cases reported in both June and July. 

However, Pitt Meadows did receive more reports about person-related crimes, up from 17 in June. to 19 in July. 

Popular breakfast places in Ridge Meadows

It’s not every day that you dine out for breakfast but when you do, what do you look for? Is it a perfect coffee blend? Rightly poached eggs or a crisp toast? We asked you and others in the community to help us curate a list of breakfast options and their must-haves. 

If we had a poll, Big Feast Bistro, Maple Ridge would be the winner. 

  • Recommend: Their famous ‘My Favourite Breakfast Sandwich’ is filled with roasted garlic-feta aioli, fresh tomatoes, cheesy eggs and double-smoked bacon. 

Jimmy’s Lunch Box received an honourable mention in our riddle but we’re not the only ones talking about it. 

  • Recommend: Their poached eggs and shredded hash browns are particularly famous. Their Chicken Waffle served with homemade Belgian waffles, crispy chicken thighs, pickled cabbage and sunny egg are another must-have. 

Humble Roots Cafe and Deli is another local favourite. Proudly sourcing their produce, dairy and meats locally – they grow their own vegetables and smoke their own salmon?!

  • Recommend: Their perogies and eggs served with sour cream, caramelized onions, stuffed with butternut squash are a hot seller. 

City food truck pilot underwhelms Pitt Meadows residents

The City of Pitt Meadows launched a pilot food truck program in July but residents raised concerns about lack of communication and absence of food trucks from the designated locations. 

“We never once saw a food truck at Harris Road Park and we spent a lot of time there this summer,” said Lindsay Howard. 

The program began July 1 and ended September 30.

Locals living near the food truck locations shared that they didn’t see food trucks parked on site.

Mikela Figgures echoed the comment, adding that the city should’ve informed residents about truck locations and hours beforehand. 

Read the rest of the story here

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows cooling centres did not reach full capacity during heatwave

Residents of British Columbia had a sweltering summer, with temperatures as high as 46 C and municipalities setting up cooling centres to provide relief to people of all ages. 

We asked the City of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows about how busy their cooling centres got during the heat waves. 

Pitt Meadows: The city had only one cooling centre initially at the Pitt Meadows rec centre.

  • The City had roughly 80 people who made use of the cooling centres during the initial heatwave and did not reach full capacity at any given time, according to Carolyn Baldridge, Pitt Meadows manager of communications and community engagement. 

Maple Ridge: The City set up cooling centres at Greg Moore Youth Centre, Ridge Meadows Seniors Centre, Maple Ridge Public Library and a local Salvation Army. 

  • At the end of June, the City had 70 people access the cooling centre at Greg Moore Youth Centre for four days. 
  • For the second heatwave toward the end of July, no visitors registered to access the facility. 
  • For the third (and last) heatwave of the season in mid-August, 34 people registered to use the facility to cool off at the Youth Centre, Fred Armstrong. Manager of Corporate Communications shared with us.

Pitt Meadows releases second-quarter report 

The second-quarter report released on August 27 shows how the City has performed from April to June 2021. 

Here are quick facts:

  • The city planted 7,077 trees
  • The city issued 64 building permits and 67 business licences 
  • The Fire and Rescue Services received 233 calls, a 19.9 per cent increase compared to the previous year’s second-quarter
  • The City spent 39 to 51 per cent of the Finance Department Operating Budget on citywide services.

From wasteful plastics to hopeful art 

As wildfires continue to burn across B.C., the conversation around climate change has become more important than ever. 

Often, conversations around the environment tend to get complicated and fail to inform and educate people. 

But there are creative and perhaps, artistic ways to simplify these conversations. 

To help people around her recognize wasteful living habits and adopt sustainable practices, Yeonmi (Yun-Me) Kim is exhibiting her work at the Art of Upcycling exhibition at Pitt Meadows Art Gallery till September 5

Read the full story here

September 

Katzie Nation and BC Wildlife Federation collaborate for fish habitat workshop

In an effort to teach local communities about river and fish health, the BC Wildlife Federation partnered with Katzie First Nation for a two-day workshop in Maple Ridge in October. 

The workshop focused on the importance of fish habitat restoration efforts as well as providing the Ridge-Meadows community with tools to maintain and protect local waterways. 

Participants met experts in the field, especially local experts from the Katzie First Nation. 

“As part of the hands-on habitat improvement project for the workshop we will be visiting the riparian area just outside the stream and we will be doing some planting there and learn about species control,” he added. 

RCMP continue to investigate axe incident in Maple Ridge

One arrest was made after a man hefting an axe chased another man through downtown Maple Ridge on Sept. 3. 

Both men were unwilling to cooperate with police, according to an RCMP statement

“Both men knew each other and no significant injuries had occurred and were uncooperative with police and not interested in police or emergency health services assistance. An axe was seized at the scene,” according to the RCMP Const. Julie Klaussner. 

​​Foundry Ridge Meadows aims for reconciliation with youth art project

Indigenous artist Rain Pierre, along with Foundry Ridge Meadows, is working with youth between 14 and 24 to help them explore their creativity and work on a mural with him.

“This is me doing reconciliation in my own way,” Pierre says. “This is allowing us Indigenous people to show who we truly are without being afraid anymore. We are now stepping into a realm where we can be brave and stand up for what we believe in.”

Each artist is set to create a piece which is then voted on by the community. Finalists are selected based on public voting. Pierre believes this competition is an opportunity to make the space more welcoming for these children by creating a mural along with the winners of the competition.

Read the full story here

Artist explores her Indigeneity through River Bends and Totem Ends

A new exhibit opened doors for Pitt Meadows residents titled River Bends and Totem Ends, a solo show produced by an artist with mixed ancestry, Karen Goodfellow. 

Growing up without her native tradition did not stop Goodfellow from exploring her Indigenous heritage. 

In her 20s she became curious to learn more and decided to find her Indigenous path. 

“My maternal grandparents were Indigenous and my paternal grandparents were Austrian. My maternal grandmother was Squamish and grandfather was Katzie First Nation,” Goodfellow said. 

Read the full story here

RCMP detachment plan raises concerns about tax increase and loss of art space in Pitt Meadows 

A plan to transform the Pitt Meadows Art Gallery into an RCMP detachment was criticized as “undemocratic” by residents opposed to the rezoning.

More than 250 residents had signed a petition by September 20 to stop the rezoning, which would also affect parkland on Harris Road.

The rezoning was recently approved and given a green light by the province. 

Read the full story here.

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