B.C. Views Enbridge oil pipeline won’t happen. p6
Adopt a neighbourhood stream. p3
Pets You, me and Bobbi Magee. p29
www.mapleridgenews.com Wednesday, January 18, 2012 · Serving Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows · est. 1978 · 604-467-1122 · 50¢
Six more suspected rioters from Maple Ridge VPD wants charges laid against another 20 suspects by Je f f Nage l Black Press
Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS
Blue and white Two people walk their dogs in the snow along the dike by McNeil Road in Pitt Meadows on Sunday. See more snow photos, p4.
Vancouver Police are recommending 63 new charges against 20 more suspected rioters who ran amok during the 2011 Stanley Cup riot last June. Among them are people from Surrey and other parts of the Lower Mainland. The announcement brings the total number of suspects the VPD wants charged to 100. Twenty-six of them are from Surrey, 18 are from Vancouver, 17 are from Burnaby, six are from Maple Ridge, four are from North Vancouver and three or fewer hail from other Lower Mainland cities or elsewhere. See Rioters, p4
CP Rail buys farmland for expansion Holding Pitt property for future growth by M o n i s h a M a r t i n s staff reporter
Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS
CP Rail already owned 60 hectares north of the tracks, and just bought 23 more on the south side.
Canadian Paciﬁc Railway has bought a tract of farmland in Pitt Meadows to hold for possible expansion. The $4 million purchase of 23 hectares (58 acres) means the company will own land on both sides of the train tracks.
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Canadian Paciﬁc currently owns 60 hectares (150 acres) along Lougheed Highway near Kennedy Road, 40 of which are undeveloped. The other 20 is an intermodal yard. The company, which employs 50 employees and roughly 125-150 contractors at its Pitt Meadows operation, has no plans to pave its new purchase immediately, but is holding the property for future growth. “This is just normal course of business in acquiring this
Opinion Tom Fletcher Looking Back Arts&life Pet Pages Sports Classifieds
land to be in a position for potential future use,” said Kevin Hrysak, CPR Canada’s media relations manager. For now, the land, home to a dairy operation and horse sanctuary in the past, will continue to be used for agriculture. As a federally chartered company, CPR’s railway operations, such as track expansions or intermodal yards, are not subject to local government or provincial rules. The Agricultural Land Com-
mission, which regulates farmland in B.C., is aware of CPR’s purchase and has been told the company may need the land to expand railway tracks. Land commission planner Tony Pellett said Canadian Paciﬁc did not need its approval when it built the container terminal on farmland along Lougheed Hwy., but required an exclusion application to build its warehouses off Allen Way. See CP Rail, p18
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Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS
Amanda Crowston of ARMS crouches by a creek the environmental group recently found fish in at the corner of 222nd Street and 126th Avenue.
Adopt a stream – neighbours, get involved Pilot program tries to get residents interested in streams in their backyards by Phi l M elnyc h u k staff reporter
fter being poked and prodded and tested for acidity levels, clarity, oxygen and temperature, the result was a clean bill of health – and it doesn’t even have a name. Ofﬁcially, it’s called T2, but the locals know it as Hillside Creek. It runs through an older neighbourhood in Maple Ridge, along 222nd Street, starting somewhere north of Dewdney Trunk Road, through backyards and beneath roads and it’s a sparkling example of what an urban stream should be, says the Alouette River Management Society. Thanks to the adopt-a-stream
pilot program, T2 now will have some tender loving care to ensure its survival. The program matched the society’s expertise with the volunteer efforts of concerned residents, in order to safeguard the watercourse. “It’s really about connecting people to their streams and show them how important their stream is to wildlife and ﬁsh,” said Amanda Crowston, with the river society. “It’s really to showcase the importance of these urban streams.” A $12,050 grant from the Fraser Salmon and Watershed Program allowed the water quality to be tested. The results from last fall came back good for all of the above categories. ARMS staff and local neighbours also installed ﬁsh traps in four spots last week and found ﬁsh in three of them – cutthroat trout, coho salmon and stickleback, some almost 10 centimetres long. It’s possible that a concrete barrier blocked ﬁsh access to the fourth. “We were really excited. It goes through so many properties,” Crowston said. Removal of invasive plants was also part of the project. Crowston doesn’t know the exact origin point of T2, saying that it’s formed basically by runoff from
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A coho salmon fry showed up in T2 creek along 222nd Street, the focus of a pilot adopt-a-stream program. River management society volunteer Peter Dittaro and employee Nicole Driedger confirm that it’s a coho. roads, backyards and ditches. When the Alouette River is under storm conditions or facing heavy runoff, such channels offer a refuge for smaller ﬁsh. If more money becomes available, the program could be offered to other neighbourhoods. Crowston says adopt-a-stream forms a connection between residents and the stream and its surrounding en-
vironment, which people may not have had before. Her group wants to show residents how, with small changes to their properties, there can be a healthier stream for ﬁsh and wildlife. “Many people love bird watching, for example, and with a healthy ﬁsh population in an urban stream, and plants that support bird habi-
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tat, there will be more birds in our backyards. “If they want to start caring for their streams in their back yards, we want to support them.” Not tested for, however, was pesticides. Maple Ridge doesn’t allow use of pesticides or herbicides on residential properties. “The stream is going through a residential area. We hope with the municipal bylaw, that’s something we don’t have to test for.” Stacy Wakfer, who lives on 222nd Street, is one of the handful of residents who helped ARMS. “It’s my belief we own the streams and that waterway is ours,” Wakfer said. The stream will be here long after she’s gone, she added. However, she wonders why the District of Maple Ridge OK’d last June a new 109-unit condo development at 12256 – 222nd St., that’s located on nearby untouched green space. The project already has a permit, but Wakfer wants the setback for the stream corridor that runs through the property increased from 15 metres to 30 metres. Crowston, though, says the project has “sufﬁcient setbacks from the stream and there is a proper plan in place to ensure the setback is restored with native plants.”
4 -- Wednesday, January 18, 2012 -- THE NEWS - www.mapleridgenews.com
Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS
Snow ball (Clockwise) Lars Pehar Sands, 9, gets some air off a snow ramp while sledding with his family at Jackson Farm on Sunday; Deston Pehar Sands, 7, gets sideways while sliding down a hill; Kula, a three-year-old golden retriever, chases after Lars and Deston.
82 per cent from outside Vancouver Rioters from front The VPD said 82 per cent of suspects are from outside Vancouver, while 18 per cent live in the city. The force listed three examples of the new suspects who may be charged. One of them, a 15-year-old from Surrey, is accused of helping ﬂip a parked car, stealing something from its trunk, pushing over a portable toilet, and later smashing a police car with a metal fence connector. Police also say a Surrey 19-year-old who attends university in Kelowna helped ﬂip a parked truck and ﬂicked lit cigarettes at the pool of gas leaking from it – all of which was caught on video. The truck didn’t explode and the VPD says the young man, who has no criminal record, contacted investigators before they could arrest him. The VPD also showcased a 45-year-old man Vancouver man they say tried to smash the windows of a bank with a hockey stick before punching various random people in the head. Police say the same man, who has a long criminal record, later helped overturn a parked car. All suspects are accused by police of participating in a riot,
All suspects are accused by police of participating in a riot, while mischief or break-and-enter are the next most common charges being requested. while mischief or break-andenter are the next most common charges being requested. The 85 men and 15 women have an average age of 21, and 20 were young offenders under age 18 at the time of the riot. The men range in age from 15 to 52, while females range from 17 to 27. Crown counsel has so far approved 78 charges against 30 riot suspects, all of whom either turned themselves in or have
been arrested. Rioters torched police cars and other vehicles and looted stores in downtown Vancouver June 15 after the Boston Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of the Cup ﬁnal. Integrated Riot Investigation Team Insp. Les Yeo called the list of the “ﬁrst 100” suspects a signiﬁcant milestone, adding more are expected. “The victims haven’t forgotten and neither have we.”
www.mapleridgenews.com - THE NEWS -- Wednesday, January 18, 2012 -- 5
Pedestrians struck on Lougheed Hwy. Two pedestrians were taken to hospital after being struck by a car while crossing icy Lougheed Highway in Maple Ridge Saturday night. The men were hit by a car traveling west around 8:30 p.m. in the 21600-block of Lougheed Hwy. Cpl. Alanna Dunlop said the men, aged 30 and 36, were not in a crosswalk. Police believe low visibility may have been a factor, as it was late and had snowed earlier in the day. â€œThe area is not well lit and the roads were wet and icy,â€? added Dunlop. Both were taken to hospital with non-lifethreatening injuries. The weekend snowfall did not cause any major accidents, but there were several minor crashes, as cars lost
Barry Brinkman/Special to THE NEWS
Paramedics and firefighters tend to two men hit by a car Saturday in Maple Ridge. control on wet snow and slippery hills. A car lost control at the corner of 107th Avenue and 239th Street on Saturday and nearly crashed into Brandi Rossâ€™ house. Ross said itâ€™s the second time in ďŹ ve years thereâ€™s been a similar
near-miss by her home. â€œThis neighbourhood is full of children and the city doesnâ€™t think there is an issue with the hill. We had a test done last summer for speed. They found no issues,â€? Ross added. â€œSadly, this morning, I gained another new
lawn ornament.â€? A weather warning was issued for Metro Vancouver on Monday. The Fraser Valley bore the brunt of the cold weather system on Monday after an early morning snowfall caused havoc for commuters.
Four arrests in Pitt cellphone store robbery by Wanda C how Black Press An investigation led by members of the Burnaby RCMPâ€™s strike force unit and proliďŹ c offender suppression team resulted in the arrest of four suspects Thursday in connection with a violent robbery of a cellphone store in Pitt Meadows. At about 2:30 p.m. Jan. 12, four male suspects were arrested following a violent robbery of a retail store at Meadowtown
Centre in Pitt Meadows. The suspects used bear spray. Apart from store employees being treated for exposure to the spray, there were no other injuries. The arrests are the result of efforts in response to a signiďŹ cant increase in robberies of individuals and retail stores in which cellphones have been targeted, a trend noted by all police forces in the region in recent months. As part of Burnaby detachmentâ€™s crime reduc-
tion strategy, members of its strike force unit and POST gathered intelligence in an attempt to identify potential suspects. Several persons of interest were narrowed down to primary suspects, who were targeted with an intense police investigation. On Jan. 12, the Burnaby RCMP teams coordinated a surveillance project with the assistance of Ridge Meadows RCMP, Coquitlam RCMP and the Lower Mainland Dis-
trict Integrated Emergency Response Team. It was during the project that the suspects were arrested. â€œEarly indications are the group operated with at some level of sophistication in planning their activities and members from the Burnaby RCMP are actively liaising with other police agencies throughout the [Lower Mainland district] to determine if there are any links to crimes committed in other jurisdictions,â€? the release said.
Invitation to Tender 119 Avenue Road and Drainage Improvements (York Street to 221 Street) Reference No: ITT-EN12-10 Project No: E02-010-163
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The District of Maple Ridge invites tenders for road and drainage improvements on 119 Avenue from York Street to 221 Street. The work generally consists of road widening of 119 Avenue complete with concrete curb and gutter, concrete sidewalk on the north side; widening of 221 Street 50m south of 119 Avenue, installation of storm sewer both on 119 Avenue and 221 Street, storm service connections, lawn basins and catch basins. Tender Documents may be obtained on or after Tuesday, January 24, 2012 during normal business hours (Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, except holidays) at the Engineering Counter of the District of Maple Ridge, on payment of a non-refundable amount of $56.00 (incl. HST) made payable to the District of Maple Ridge. The document can also be downloaded from BC Bid at www.bcbid.gov.bc.ca. The Tender Documents may be viewed at the Plan Room of the Vancouver Regional Construction Association, 3636 East 4 Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5M 1M3. For all inquiries, contact Maria Guerra at the District of Maple Ridge at 604-467-7356. Tender Closing Date: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 Tender Closing Time: 2:00 pm local time Tender Deposit Place: District of Maple Ridge Reception Desk (First Floor) 11995 Haney Place Maple Ridge, BC V2X 6A9 11995 Haney Place, Maple Ridge, BC V2X 6A9 Tel: 604-463-5221 â€˘ Fax: 604-467-7329
6 -- Wednesday, January 18, 2012 -- THE NEWS - www.mapleridgenews.com
THE NEWS/opinion News Views
Published and printed by Black Press at 22328 – 119th Avenue, Maple Ridge, B.C., V2X 2Z3
Stay off the phone In the first 20 months of British Columbia’s distracted driving law, police issued 46,008 tickets to drivers for using hand-held electronic devices while behind the wheel. Another 1,372 tickets were issued for emailing or texting while driving. The ministry of the Solicitor-General says that means 16 people are still alive thanks to a 12 per cent reduction in motor vehicle accidents involving fatalities and serious injuries. The statistics suggest the two-year-old ban on talking or texting on a cell phone while driving has been effective. But as anyone who spends any amount of time on the province’s roads and highways will likely attest, the reality is somewhat different. Drivers are still talking on their cell phones. Some are just more discreet about doing it. They wait until they’re on quieter side streets, or they look around to ensure no police are nearby. Or they try to hide their activity, keeping their phone out of sight as they press numbers or check their text messages. Others openly seem to be flaunting the law, chatting with their cell phone pressed up to their ear as they drive along busy thoroughfares. A recent survey by ICBC says their excuses range from outright defiance at the righteousness of the law, to misguided affection for the feel of the phone in their hand to a wrongheaded belief that making or taking a call while at a red light doesn’t count as driving. The risks presented by distracted driving are very real. In fact, you’re 23 times more likely to get into an accident if you’re using your cellphone while driving. So even though the coast may be clear of vigilant police, stay off the phone while driving. – Black Press Tell us what you think @ www.mapleridgenews.com
THE NEWS Serving Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows since 1978 Jim Coulter, publisher email@example.com Michael Hall, editor firstname.lastname@example.org Carly Ferguson, advertising, creative services manager email@example.com Brian Yip, circulation manager firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial Reporters: Phil Melnychuk, Monisha Martins, Robert Mangelsdorf, Colleen Flanagan Advertising Sales representatives: Karen Derosia, Michelle Baniulis, Jaime Kemmis, Marshall Mackinder, Lorae Brickwood Ad control: Mel Onodi Creative services: Kristine Pierlot, Annette WaterBeek, Chris Hussey, Brian Holt Classified: Vicki Milne 22328 – 119th Avenue, Maple Ridge, B.C., V2X 2Z3 Office: 604-467-1122 Delivery: 604-466-6397 Website: mapleridgenews.com Email: email@example.com The News is a member of the British Columbia Press Council, a selfregulatory body governing the province's newspaper industry. The council considers complaints from the public about the conduct of member newspapers. Directors oversee the mediation of complaints, with input from both the newspaper and the complaint holder. If talking with the editor or publisher does not resolve your complaint about coverage or story treatment, you may contact the B.C. Press Council. Your written concern, with documentation, should be sent to B.C. Press Council, 201 Selby St., Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 2R2. For information, phone 888-687-2213 or go to www.bcpresscouncil.org. CCAB audited circulation: (as of September 2011): Wednesday - 30,744; Friday – 30,745.
Enbridge oil pipeline won’t happen After following the opening phase of the National Energy Board’s hearings on the Northern Gateway oil pipeline proposal, I have a prediction. B.C. will never see this pipeline. And that’s probably the best outcome. B.C. Views The ﬁrst reason is the nearly unanimous Tom Fletcher opposition of informed Kitimat-area residents, led by Haisla Nation Chief Councillor Ellis Ross and skilled local volunteers who described the marine environment of the Kitimat estuary. There was speculation that Ross, who was just appointed to chair Premier Christy Clark’s new Aboriginal Business and Investment Council, might bend on the oil proposal. His testimony put that notion to rest. The Haisla, Haida, Gitga’at and other members of the Coastal First Nations group put their marker down on managed logging and eco-tourism years before this pipeline debate heated up. California do-gooders may have coined the term “Great Bear Rainforest,” but make no mistake, these tribes run the place. Moving inland, the Northern Gateway pipeline route is a tangle of dozens of asserted traditional territories, some in the century-old Treaty 8 zone and others with no legal settlement. Our courts will require at least another generation of millionaire lawyers to untangle the territorial claims involved,
no matter what the B.C., Canadian or Chinese governments may wish to do with this oil. The Haisla have embraced liqueﬁed natural gas ships, plants and pipelines, which may be all the industrial development the region can handle. Condensate can continue to be shipped into Kitimat by tankers and sent by railcar to Alberta to dilute bitumen. Which brings me to the alternatives to Northern Gateway. CP Rail just announced a major investment in its U.S. main line south of Saskatchewan, to transport crude oil from the Bakken Formation, an emerging source of shale oil and gas under Saskatchewan, Alberta and North Dakota. CP shipments out of North Dakota went from 500 carloads in 2009 to more than 13,000 carloads in 2011. The new target is 70,000. B.C.’s likeliest alternative for oilsands crude is the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, which has been pumping Alberta oil and reﬁned products to the West Coast at Burrard Inlet for nearly 60 years. Port Moody’s Ioco reﬁnery is gone, but Chevron’s Burnaby plant remains, and some crude goes out by tanker or pipeline to reﬁneries south of B.C. The current owner of Trans Mountain, Kinder Morgan Canada, is naturally watching the Enbridge battle closely. A Kinder Morgan representative provided the following information about tanker trafﬁc from their Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby. In 2011 there were 32 tankers loaded at Westridge, down from 69 in 2010. Demand varies widely (there were no tankers in 2000) and current trafﬁc is similar to what went out of Burrard Inlet
in the 1970s. Contrary to popular belief, there is not yet a major surge to Asia. For every 10 ships that load at Westridge, on average eight sail to California, one to U.S. Gulf Coast reﬁneries, and only one to Asia. Current Port Metro Vancouver rules allow Aframax-class tankers (80,000 to 119,000 dead weight tons) to pass under the Lions Gate and Second Narrows bridges, but they can’t take on a full load.
B.C.’s likeliest alternative for oilsands crude is the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, which has been pumping Alberta oil and refined products to the West Coast at Burrard Inlet for nearly 60 years. That would require dredging in Second Narrows, which would increase general shipping safety as well as capacity. Kinder Morgan has not yet formally applied to twin the Trans Mountain line. If it does expand its priceless right of way, the capacity would be greater than the Enbridge proposal. One way or another, that oil will move. The professional environmentalist gong show over Enbridge is still to come. More on that next week. Tom Fletcher is legislative reporter and columnist for Black Press and BCLocalnews.com (tﬂetcher@blackpress.ca).
This week’s question: Do you support Enbridge’s proposed $5.5 billion Northern Gateway pipeline? @ Online poll: cast your vote at www.mapleridgenews.com, or e-mail your vote and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
www.mapleridgenews.com - THE NEWS -- Wednesday, January 18, 2012 -- 7
THE NEWS/letters online comments Stupid drug Marianna Nagy · Archbishop Carney Secondary School: Re: Just one pill (mapleridgenews.com). Shannon [Raymond] and I were very close (we grew up on the same street together) and a few months after her death, the group of kids I used to be associated with (before smartening up) began using ecstasy very frequently. It was shocking to me that the death of someone that walked the same halls as they did didn’t deter them from experimenting with that stupid drug. Why is it that Maple Ridge is full of so many misguided lost teenagers? A high concentration of the lot seems to come from Westview Secondary School – I know because I attended that school, as did Shannon. Though we, neither she nor I, were what you would consider ‘lost,’ we were friends with a lot of stupid people. This is most obvious in Shannon’s case. If you have a son or daughter attending Westview Secondary School that you believe to be a good, intelligent kid, do yourself a favor and transfer them to a different high school. You might end up saving their life.
Not on trees Richard Pitt: Re: Pitt councillor wants tax increase lowered further (mapleridgenews.com). The biggest problem governments have is a complete lack of understanding that money does not grow on trees – nor does it magically spring from cash machines just when you need it. It has to be earned by people creating wealth. Government does not create wealth – government employees don’t create wealth, Business creates wealth, and when the business environment is stressed, there is less wealth for governments to tap, regardless of how much they want to. The fact that capital assets are “appreciating” does not mean that wealth has been created, either.
Shift tax Sandy Wakeling: Re: Pitt councillor wants tax increase lowered further (mapleridgenews.com). If memory serves, the drainage utility, which primarily supports the northern agriculture zone of Pitt Meadows, is heavily subsidized by those of us in the residential zone. I’d be in favour of a tax shift which aims to rectify the imbalance.
Does money rule? Tanny Szabados · Fraser Valley College: Re: Gravel pit will have to follow Maple Ridge rules (mapleridgenews.com). I have a problem with this gravel pit. What happens to all the dirty runoff water? Will it go into all the little creeks and tributaries? Will we have another situation like the Coquitlam River? What about all the fish in those streams? Will we sacrifice all the years of work local people have put in to protect and nurture these streams all for the sake of gravel? Can’t we purchase it from one of the other pits that have already ruined there watersheds and minimize anymore environmental damage? Will we really ever learn, or does money really rule our environmental awareness?
Road worse Hugh Peden · Maple Ridge, British Columbia: Re: Gravel pit will have to follow Maple Ridge rules (mapleridgenews.com). I think the building of the road would be worse for the environment than the actual gravel pit as it is the proposed road that will cross several streams and creeks. Regardless, why do we need yet another pit when there are already several up there with their output only limited by the [district] and how much they wish to extract on an annual basis. The location of the proposed access road seems a deliberate strategy to skirt municipal oversight. If this does proceed, the powers that be should ensure that access is via 256th Street and take the funds that would have been used for the access road and put them towards completing the much needed Abernethy Connector to 256th St. and, thereby, diverting trucks from the busy and difficult (uphill) intersection at Dewdney Trunk Road] and 256th St. ...
Campaigning in our schools? EDITOR, THE NEWS:
Re: Why are things the way they are? (Along the Fraser, Jan. 13). Yes, we should ask, “Why are things the way they are?” We have to thank Jack Emberly for exposing the indoctrination of Thomas Haney school students by the NDP-based Cinema Politica. Is the NDP invited into our schools to campaign now? Are all the other political groups allowed to come into the schools and present their views? It is stated that after the viewing, Oosha Ramsoondar “directed? her young audience to think about a question and invited students to become members of Cinema Politica. All this would be acceptable outside of school boundaries, but presenting this political bias in taxpayer-funded venues is unacceptable. Why is it happening is more the question? It also irks me that Mr. Emberly and his group believe themselves to be the only noble ones, with noble quotations. The only ones who help the poor, are active in health, welfare, education
and the environment. They should consider coming down from their lofty peak of self-righteousness. CHERRYL KATNICH MAPLE RIDGE
No connection EDITOR, THE NEWS:
Re: Why are things the way they are? (Along the Fraser, Jan. 13). Like Jack Emberly, I am an admirer of Oosha Ramsoondar’s active citizenship. I agree that initiative for ﬁxing the system needs to come from individuals, many of whom attend Cinema Politica screenings of issue-related ﬁlms. However, I have to clarify that Cinema Politica is in no way connected to or supported by the New Democratic Party. JANET AMSDEN, PRESIDENT PITT MEADOWS-MAPLE RIDGE MISSION NDP RIDING ASSOCIATION
Let’s talk EDITOR, THE NEWS:
Re: Why are things the way they are? (Along the Fraser, Jan. 13). Cinema Politica Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows is very
part to the contribution of the municipality of Maple Ridge in allowing us use of their facilities. For this, we are very grateful. It must be noted, however, that Cinema Politica is nonpartisan and not afﬁliated with the NDP in any way. As stated on the website: “Cinema Politica is a Montreal-based media arts, non-proﬁt network of community and campus locals that screen independent political ﬁlm and video by Canadian and international artists throughout Canada and abroad.” Cinema Politica Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows is not afﬁliated with any political party. Its organizing committee is made up of individuals who share a love for progressive documentary ﬁlms. Our screenings are free of charge, open to all and our audience, including individuals who are apolitical or have diverse political afﬁliations. Our aim is to encourage discussion and debate on issues that affect us as a community, British Columbians and Canadians. OOSHA RAMSOONDAR MAPLE RIDGE
Why won’t kids help shovel driveways? EDITOR, THE NEWS:
Whatever happened to the good old days? Finally, we have winter. I, personally, love the snow, but then I don’t drive or have to commute long distances. But there is still the shovelling. My 79-year-old mom certainly cannot shovel her drive or sidewalk, and her
regularly scheduled outings with HandyDart are cancelled if it can’t get into her driveway. My husband has both a heart and kidney condition, so his shovelling ability is limited, too; I have a chronic back condition, so basically I can shovel, but only for a limited time. Back when my brother
and I were growing up in Burnaby, to earn a little pocket money, we would go door-to-door asking people if they needed their drives and sidewalks shovelled. It was hard work, but we certainly ended up with some spare change in our pockets. So what’s happened with kids nowadays? Too big an
allowance from parents, or just don’t care? We’re going out of town, and heaven help my poor mom if it snows that week. Neighbors don’t seem to care about each other either. Where has our society gone that no one cares to help one another anymore? JANET VEILLET PITT MEADOWS
Why punch a road through forested area? EDITOR, THE NEWS:
Re: Council may not be able to do anything about Blue Mtn. quarry (The News, Jan. 11). Why would anyone punch a new road through an forested area when 256th Street is within a short distance to the west of the site? And, as we have been told for years, 256th St. is the
preferred designated truck route for the northeast sector. Something about this whole proposal does not seem right – if the currently shelved Abernethy Connector is ever revived (sometime in the next 100 years – the expected life of the gravel pit), the gravel operations would be right at its door step.
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honoured by the coverage in this article. When we started this venture, we knew there was a need in our community for documentary ﬁlms that focused on issues not covered in the mainstream media. But the overwhelming response has been gratifying. We seem to have connected with a wide cross-section of our community, and have had various groups represented, including a local Buddhist mediation group, the Friends in Need Food bank, and Oxfam, to name a few. Some of our special guests have included Mel Hurtig, founder of the National Party of Canada and the Council of Canadians, Arzeena Hamir of the Richmond Food Security Society, and Job Cooksey a writer/producer/director from Vancouver. We have a few regular attendees from Vancouver, Surrey, and Burnaby. These people are amazed that our small community can host such screenings and have such knowledgeable and renowned individuals as special guests. Our success reﬂects positively for and in our community and is due in no small
Maple Ridge is in la, la land
I really question the competency of Maple Ridge’s senior management as this proposal seems to have caught them all off guard (similar incompetence can be attached to an ex-mayor’s private golf course and the vacant Kanaka business park, neither of which were in the Ofﬁcial Community Plan, when we ﬁrst moved
EDITOR, THE NEWS:
Re: Pitt councillor wants tax increase lowered further (mapleridgenews.com). Now here is an elected official with real guts. Kudos, to Janis Elkerton. We in Maple Ridge could use
here). I don’t know how they justify their pay and positions. Maybe its time to review their continued taxpayerfunded positions with the District. I don’t know how they continue to keep themselves employed at our expense. DOUG BUKER MAPLE RIDGE
your wisdom and guidance, as our spending is totally out of control –lots of shiny fire trucks, new shiny fire hall, lots of nice shiny municipal vehicles driving around all day. It’s la, la land in Maple Ridge. WILL WATERBEEK MAPLE RIDGE
8 -- Wednesday, January 18, 2012 -- THE NEWS - www.mapleridgenews.com
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89 per cent of students graduate high school within six years by R o b e r t M a n g e l s d o r f staff reporter The six-year graduation rate for local high school students is well above provincial targets, according to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District. The six-year grad rate in the local school district for the 2010/11 school year was 89 per cent for resident students, well above the target of 81 per cent set by the Ministry of Education. The local grad rate has improved steadily since the 2004/05 school year, when just 75 per cent of students were graduating in six years after entering high school. “That’s two whole schools worth of graduates more than we had in 2004,” said Stewart Sonne, the district’s director of instruction for secondary education. “In the mid ’60s we lost 400 kids a year, now we’re down to less than 200 kids a year, and we have more kids than we did back then.” Sonne presented the information to school trustees at their board meeting last Wednesday.
“The teachers deserve all the credit for the increase in grad rates,” Sonne said. The district launched the Keeping Kids in School program in 2007, which offers students a variety of options to stay in school and graduate, including the Connex half-day program. Students are no longer able to withdraw from classes until they contact the district’s Keeping Kids in School program. The diversity of programs offered by the district has also played a role in raising grad rates by offering students an education relevant to their needs. “Every time we have a student that’s engaged by learning, they are going to have greater success,” Sonne said. Of the 189 students who dropped out of local high schools last year, Sonne said the vast majority were dealing with depression, anxiety, and drug issues. “That’s where I think our next big push has to be, to reach those kids” he said. The large number of international students brought down the overall six-year grad rate for all students in the district to 79 per cent. However, Sonne warned that number is skewed by the large number of international students studying locally. The province’s reporting
practices count a visiting international student who stays for a semester and returns home the same as a dropout, he said. Local aboriginal students continued to out perform the provincial benchmark, but Sonne believes there is plenty of room to improve. Aboriginal students had 62 per cent six-year graduation rate, compared to the 52 per cent provincial target. What’s telling is that of the aboriginal students who make to Grade 12 and are eligible to graduate, 94 per cent do. “Once you get to Grade 12 as an aboriginal student, you’re going to graduate, at the same rate or higher as non-aboriginal students,” Sonne said. The district’s aboriginal education ofﬁce assigns case workers to every aboriginal student who drops out to follow them after they leave school, and offer them an opportunity to re-enroll. The district also improved its Grade 11 to 12 transition rate from 77 to 83 percent between the 2005/06 and the 2009/20 school year, the most recent year data was available. “We’re one of the two most improved districts in the province as far as [grade-tograde transitions],” Sonne said.
January 19, 20, 21
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www.mapleridgenews.com - THE NEWS -- Wednesday, January 18, 2012 -- 9
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10 -- Wednesday, January 18, 2012 -- THE NEWS - www.mapleridgenews.com
Coming Soon to
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Smart Meter â€˜nukedâ€™ breaker, stove by Phil Mel nyc hu k staff reporter She lost a freezer-load of food just before Christmas, her microwave oven was zapped beyond repair, two computer chips on her new stove were fried and the breaker for her hot water tank damaged. It all adds up to about $1,000 and Nicole Driedger wants B.C. Hydro to pay the bill because she says the damage was caused by the installation of a Smart Meter on her Stonehouse Avenue home, Dec. 19. â€œIâ€™m not the only person this is happening to,â€? Driedger said Tuesday. â€œThere are people all over Maple Ridge that this is happening to.â€? Driedger says the damage was caused as a worker was installing the new meter on the side of her house. She says something was jarred in the process and caused a surge in electricity, which led to the damage of the electrical appliances. That led to a $450 bill from the electrician who repaired the breaker switch and who also checked the rest of her house. â€œItâ€™s nothing to do with the functioning of the house, or the wiring of the house. â€œHe told me there was nothing wrong with the house.â€? Driedger and her family has been in the house in west Maple Ridge for only a year and already had an electrical inspection done
About 14,000 Smart Meters have been installed in Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows.
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ance, but sheâ€™s worried about her premiums increasing. When the spoiled food is included, resulting from a resetting of the deep freeze also caused by the power surge, she lost about $1,000. â€œIâ€™m not asking for all new appliances. I just want the repairs done, thatâ€™s all, because I have all new appliances.â€? However, Cindy Verschoor, manager of communications for the Smart Meter program, said damage resulting from megter replacement is rare. B.C. Hydro replaces about 45,000 meters a year even without the smart meter program. So far, B.C. Hydro has replaced about 616,000 meters across the province. â€œA normal appliance should be able to withstanding being plugged in and unplugged and the process of installing a meter is no different,â€? Verschoor said.
when they bought the house. She says her other electronics all have surge protectors on them, so they werenâ€™t damaged. Her fridge wasnâ€™t on at the time, so it wasnâ€™t affected, she added. She was told the proper way to install a meter is to ďŹ rst shut off all the secondary breakers in the house, followed by the main breaker, after which the install can take place. Driedger called B.C. Hydro, then was referred to Corix, the company thatâ€™s installing the new meters for B.C. Hydro. Corix said it wouldnâ€™t process her claim, so Driedger called B.C. Hydro again. She waited 10 days before getting a response and was only told to submit her claim denial from Corix to B.C. Hydro, so Hydro could submit it to its own claim department. Driedger said a friend told her to claim it on her house insur-
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