Both the Times and the News this week reported about public consultation that was undertaken by the District of Maple Ridge to figure out what to do with the grassy area beside Memorial Peace Park. Fortunately the overwhelming majority of people who gave their input favored the idea of keeping it green. I think it's an excellent idea to preserve it. Once we build on it, it'll be gone, maybe not forever, but for a long time to come. As Maple Ridge grows, so will the events that take place in Memorial Peace Park. The extra park space will undoubtedly be much appreciated in the future. With some embellishments, it should nicely complement the already nicely landscaped existing park area.
I wish though that someone would buy that unsightly parking lot on the north side of Memorial Peace Park and turn it into a nice restaurant with an outdoor terrace. What is the owner waiting for? I would like to nominate this person, whoever he is, for the Maple Ridge Hall of Shame. When the District puts so much effort and money into beautifying our town core, I think Maple Ridge tax payers should be able to expect a little more respect from this guy! Is he another absentee property owner who just collects the rent for the parking garage and couldn't care less about what the people of Maple Ridge want for their town?
Memorial Peace Park is a lovely place to go on a sunny day for a picnic or just to sit on a bench and relax. But for a place this lovely, you just don't see the numbers of people that you would expect on a nice sunny day. I think that's because there's still something lacking. For sure it would help to replace this parking garage with something else. Whether it's an eatery or a coffee house - a little more interesting and exotic perhaps than a Tim Horton's, Starbucks or MacDonald's - or something else that makes it more of a meeting place, I don't know. It should be something with windows, and not a boring, uninviting blind wall. Even murals don't cut it. It has to be a place bustling with activity, with real people, maybe with music. And please, not another bank building.
Why doesn't someone take advantage of the wonderful view Memorial Peace Park would offer? Sitting on a terrace with a view of Memorial Peace Park certainly beats sitting on a terrace with a view - and the noise - of cars driving by on Lougheed Highway. Can you think of any restaurant with a terrace that doesn't face a road or a parking lot? It's possible that there are some in Maple Ridge, but I haven't seen any.
Well, maybe we just need to have patience a little longer. It does seem that things are finally starting to happen in Maple Ridge...