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Our Community. Our People.

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are two unique and distinct communities that share many of the same values, goals and history. Surrounded by some of the most majestic natural forests, rivers, lakes, mountains and marshland, the community and its people are inextricably linked by its diverse geography, common history and boundless potential. Our community and the lifestyle it offers appeals to many people of different backgrounds who come to explore and often end up staying, drawn by the affordable housing, business opportunities, recreational facilities and proximity to nature that so few Lower Mainland communities can still provide.

that Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows have produced a disproportionate number of elite athletes, artists, musicians, and businesspeople. There are many successful family businesses now being run by the second, third and fourth generations of the original proprietors, and pride, trust, loyalty and friendships run deep.

But it’s the people who really make our community unique. In my relatively short time here, it has become apparent

This publication is our attempt to feature some of the people who have left, or might yet leave their mark on our community.

We’ll look at some of the people who helped build the foundations of success, some who are making a difference today and others who may lead us into the future. We would never presume to tell the complete story of such a diverse area, but hopefully you will enjoy the perspective that we offer in “Our Community. Our People”. Serving Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows since 1978

Jim Coulter Publisher


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Maria Daley


n her bright white-washed studio in east Maple Ridge, Maria Daley guides a trio of women through an art lesson. Pallets positioned in front of their canvases, all three clutch brushes and deftly manoeuvre and mix the paint. Daley takes a look, suggests a hue of yellow to one artist and moves on, allowing all three the freedom to paint whatever takes their fancy that morning. Lori Simonski’s canvas is a kaleidoscope of vibrant orange, purple, yellow and blue. Alli Lammi has baby blue flowers on her painting while Nicole Trepanier has brushed multicoloured stripes on her canvas. Daley is using art to transform the lives of people with developmental disabilities. “When they enter that door,” says Daley, pointing to the entrance to Vicuña studio, “They are artists.” Vicuña Arts Studio opened in 2008 to provide a creative outlet for individuals from the Ridge Meadows Association for Community Living. She offers artistic instruction tailored to the skill level of each participant in her class. It doesn’t even matter if a student can’t hold a brush. “The main goal here is assimilation and encouragement for people,” says Daley. “My dream is to develop more possibilities for them.”

By Monisha Martins

Art allows Daley’s students to express themselves without words. Many travel to the studio on Handy Dart, accompanied by their care aides or parents, eager to spend hours in front of a canvas and get their fingers messy in paint. Their drawings and paintings feature in three shows hosted by the studio every year. “Nobody is left out,” says Daley. “I can see how it builds their confidence and self-esteem.” The program is similar to one Daley taught at the Community Living Society in Burnaby for 23 years. Daley is originally from Chile, where she graduated with a degree in graphic design. She moved to Canada in 1978 and has lived in Maple Ridge with her family for more than 20 years. She decided to make the transition into full-time painting 12 years ago. An award-winning artist, Daley loves that she can now use her talent to introduce others to people who rarely enter the spotlight. “Now I realize how good it is to an artist,” says Daley. “I have the opportunity to help others understand them. It doesn’t matter if a painting is good or not. It’s your expression. It’s part of you.”

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3 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

By Ashley Bhan

Dennis Hampton


aple Ridge is slowly but surely transforming into a metropolis, but the Hampton Farm is doing its part to preserve the district’s rich agricultural history. With an assortment of horses, cows, chickens and goats sprinkled about on acres of green space at the busy corner of 128th Avenue and 210th Street, the picturesque yellow farm almost looks out of place, as if taking a step back in time. Purchased in 1879 by William and Amanda Hampton, who arrived in town by a river boat from New Westminster, the dairy farm has been in the family for more than 125 years and has become a hot spot for visitors. “We get a lot of people telling us they appreciate the farm. They like, stop by and watch us drive the horses out there,” said Dennis Hampton, a fourthgeneration farmer. “They like to stop and visit with

the animals and pet the cows and horses. “We always get people asking us for tours around the farm. It’s still a big attraction,” he added. “It feels pretty good to be a Hampton.”

Over the past few decades, major improvements have been made in farming technology but the Hampton’s prefer to use traditional methods on their farm. Although using draught horses over

machines makes the work harder and takes longer to finish, it’s cheaper and environmentally friendly. Hampton’s day starts at 5 a.m. and lasts until 7 p.m. In between, he’s responsible for milking cows twice a day, feeding and cleaning the animals and fixing fences or structural problems around the farm. “It’s just something that dad had always done, and his dad and further on. We just wanted to keep with tradition,” Hampton said, referring to his late father Bill who passed away three years ago. “Dad’s wish for the future of his farm was to have his kids run it and to keep it alive.” So far, the heritage farm, now cut in half by Golden Ears Way which leads to the new bridge, has been well preserved and Hampton hopes it’ll remain that way for another century or more.

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By Colleen Flanagan

Eileen and Paul Dwillies


ileen and Paul Dwillies share a passion for food – locally grown food. Paul, a retired designer, and Eileen, a chef, are crusaders for buying local and fresh food and are converting consumers one carrot at a time. The Dwillies’ manage the Haney Farmer’s Market, the Pitt Meadows Farmer’s Market and the Port Coquitlam Farmer’s Market. “Markets are a fabulous way for people to talk to the people who make their food,” Eileen says in a polished, emphatic voice. “They can then know where it comes from. It’s fresh. It hasn’t been traveling in a truck and it’s not many weeks in a storage centre.” “The produce you buy that day at the market, some of it was in the ground in the morning,” adds Paul. “So, I mean, you can’t get any fresher than that.” As market managers for the Haney Farmer’s Market Society for the third year in a row, they want people to know where their food is grown. Dressed in matching blue jeans and similar solid blue shirts, the Dwillies sit at an over-sized dining table in a large kitchen with a pinkish hue. This table, Paul says, expands to seat 18 people – for Eileen’s private cooking classes and demonstrations with guest chefs. “We always try to use, or we do use, everything from the market,” she says. The Dwillies’ moved to Maple Ridge in 2003 and it was that year that an article appeared in the paper about a study group looking into farmer’s markets in the district. Paul and Eileen went to every meeting. Eventually, a pilot farmer’s market was organized for eight weeks starting in August 2004. The test market was held in front of the Arts Centre Theatre because, at that time, Memorial Peace Park

couldn’t be used. “It was not very visible at the ACT because it was way back there,” Paul recalls. “People always thought it was something to do with the ACT and not the farmer’s market. So they wouldn’t even wander back there if they weren’t interested.” Despite the location, they

Eileen. “And the music is so important. The cafés around it.” A lot of thought has to be put into the layout of a market. There are 12 spots in the Haney Farmer’s Market where everyone wants to be, says Paul. “But I’ve got 25 vendors vying for 12 spots.” “So, everybody says, ‘Well, I want

went ahead with the test market anyway. It rained every Saturday. “And yet,” said Eileen, “we did have people who were excited about it and who came out.” The Dwillies’ lived for 13 years in France, where markets are a way of life, says Eileen. This is where their love-affair of the market began. “There’s a market somewhere,” says Eileen. “Everyday,” chimes in Paul. “Well within a two-hour drive of everybody in France,” continues Eileen. “So, there’s multi-markets going on. So, we were used to markets and we could see how good it was.” “And how they were laid out, too,” says Paul. “And how it was laid out,” adds

to be in the middle’,” he continues. “But you can’t put them in the middle because it’s already full.” There is also a formula for the layout, says Paul. “If you are more than 10 feet wide between vendors,” he says. “Like across the street,” Eileen adds. “Then people will just walk right down the middle and will not go to each side for the vendors,” Paul says. You also can’t have two empty spots next to a set of vendors. “You have to keep condensing [the space] so they continually buy along the way,” Paul says about the tricks of the trade. With the growth of all three markets, the Dwillies have been putting some thought towards

a winter market such as in Port Moody. However, they have to wait and see if the new location for the Pitt Meadows market, behind the cenotaph along Harris Road, will be a success. “We need a big indoor place because you’d just freeze outside,” says Paul. “We had a very late winter market here in Maple Ridge, up at Spirit Square, and it was a disaster because it was just too cold. They just want to sit at home at their fireplace.” The new location in Pitt Meadows would lend itself well to a winter market, says Eileen, with the recreation centre and lots of underground parking. However, there won’t be any plans for a market for at least another couple of years. But they do have big plans for future summer markets. “We’d love to have ‘Eat Local’ on all the posts along Lougheed,” Eileen says of those Paul designed. “And this gives the public so much opportunity to visit different markets on different days,” Eileen says about what they like to call the ‘Market Corridor.’ “And it would identify the fact that we are, on this side of the Fraser, very concerned and interested in what we eat.” Paul chuckles. “Some people don’t understand the market being an outlet for fresh food. They’ll come and they’ll say, ‘How come you don’t have any pineapples?’” His chuckle turns into an all-out laugh. “Well,” he says, “we don’t grow pineapples here.” But there is somebody on Vancouver Island trying to grow lemons. “That will be interesting.” adds Eileen, with a smile.

6 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

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Clayton Maitland


hat would education look like if there were no schools? What if classes were held not in a classroom, where students are insulated and isolated from the very world they are expected to learn about and live in, but instead held outside, in the natural environment and throughout our community? Maple Ridge educator Clayton Maitland and the team behind School District No. 42’s innovative Environmental School Project are attempting to answer just that. The “school” is an experiment that he hopes will reshape what public education looks like by providing students with an immersive learning experience. “Classrooms restrict a lot of emotions and feeling that could happen in a more open-ended environment,” he says. When education takes place outside of the classroom, the students’ senses are activated. “Instead of being passively engaged in learning or an activity, they are actively engaged,” Maitland

says. He has long been a believer in the power of mother nature as an educator. Maitland spent much of his early life outdoors, surrounded by nature on trips to the B.C. wilderness with his family. Prior to becoming a teacher with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District, Maitland operated an outdoor education business and escorted groups of atrisk youths on weeks-long trips in the wilderness. What he found was that when kids were given the opportunity to learn and grow outside of an institution, they thrived. “The kids love it, because it’s different,” Maitland says. “It builds a self-reliance and resiliency, and that helps them cope in different circumstances in their lives.” However, Maitland is not suggesting to do away with the traditional classroom. The model he is furthering requires more parental participation and support, which may not be possible for some families. Additionally, some students excel in the traditional

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public education model. “This is just another option,” he says. “Everybody learns differently. However, modern public education institutions allow for very little for many students.” Close to 60 students from kindergarten to Grade 7 have signed up for the outdoor school’s first class in September. Classwork will be project-based, with students directing their own areas of study. Projects will be designed to incorporate many different subjects, instead of artificially separating them, as is the case with the traditional model of learning. “The world isn’t separated into subjects, so why should public education?” Maitland says. “Public education is based on an industrial model, and we need to look at that model and ask, ‘is this still relevant.’” The response to the project has

been positive so far, Maitland says. But the success of the outdoor school will ultimately rely on the support of the school district, the families taking part, and the community groups the project has partnered with. “Something as innovative as this isn’t done by one person,” says Maitland. “It’s done by a community of people. And for something like this to succeed, it has to be community driven.”

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8 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

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9 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

By Ashley Bhan

Ron Paley


ince the early 1990s, Ron Paley has devoted most of his free time to resolving issues plaguing Maple Ridge. The 57-year-old native of England, who has resided in Maple Ridge for 19 years, helped transform transportation in the area by forming the lobby group Gridlock in 1992, which helped lead to the widening of the Mary Hill Bypass. At one point, Paley sat on the Lower Mainland’s economic advisory committee as a representative for Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. He was also responsible for helping build the Golden Ears Shelter House in Golden Ears Park and is now contemplating entering politics to help further improve the city. Although he’s done so much for Maple Ridge, Paley doesn’t take credit for anything and doesn’t consider himself to be a community leader. “I don’t mind volunteering. I think it was really a lot of fun over the past 20 years and it wasn’t to take credit for anything,” he said. “I felt enjoyment giving back to the community. It’s just been a real experience and I enjoyed doing it.”

“I don’t do as much volunteering and campaigning now, but I’d love to get involved in the political side of things and kick quite a few people off council,” he said. “I get frustrated. I just don’t see Maple Ridge going anywhere like other communities. We’ve become a bedroom community and it’s really

unfortunate that we’ve missed the mark on a lot of issues. “If council would make a monstrous cutback, we could put in 10 Evergreen Lines. I just feel Maple Ridge is way behind the times on growth,” he added. In the future, Paley hopes to see a full expansion of the downtown area.

If it were up to him, he’d bring in more big-box stores to attract more people. “Those types of stores bring business to the community, among other things. That’s the fact of life,” he said. “I should keep my mouth shut, but I just say it the way it is.” “Don’t get me wrong. Maple Ridge does have some positives, recreationally it’s good,” the avid outdoorsman said. “Just the access to places, you’re really within a short distance to Golden Ears Provincial Park and Pitt Lake. It’s all so beautiful and it’s all in your backyard.” Paley, a hardwood specialty products sales rep, used to be heavily involved in outdoor recreational activities such as hiking and snowshoeing but now sticks to kayaking and biking along Pitt Lake and Alouette Lake. For now, most of his free time is being taken up by family and fitness, but he hasn’t ruled out volunteering in the future. “Unfortunately I don’t have the time right now to pursue it, but we’ll see.”

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10 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011


By Robert Mangelsdorf

Ted McCain


aple Ridge author and educator Ted McCain has been a part of the computer revolution since its inception. McCain first got involved with computers in the 1970s, working in the brand-new field of computer cartography. Back then, the average computing system many companies relied upon cost between $350,000 and $1 million. But with the release of the Apple II in 1977, at the bargain price of just $5,000, the computer began to enter people’s homes, and their everyday lives. McCain’s experience with technology gave him a glimpse into the future, one in which computer technology would be completely integrated into all that we do. More than 30 years later, students and educators are still trying to catch up to the brave new world computer technology has helped to create. As a high school teacher at Maple Ridge secondary, he tries to bridge that gap. In 2005, McCain penned Teaching For Tomorrow, which lays out his case that educators need to incorporate a new set of skills in order to prepare

students for the world of tomorrow. F o r generations, education has been built around the memorization of facts and figures, an irrelevant skill in an age where children have access to the sum total of human knowledge at their fingertips instantly on their smart phone. And as fast as technology has progressed in the past 10 years, the next 10 years stand to see it accelerate even faster. “The technology revolution doesn’t happen when technology is introduced,” he says. “It happens when people adopt new behaviour because of the technology.” And that change is upon us. “The change is exponential,” says

McCain. “It’s scary because it is difficult for us to comprehend that kind of change. We have enough difficulty accepting linear change.” Today, it is the job of educators, trained in the world of yesterday, to prepare students for the world of tomorrow. On a whole, that is not happening, he believes. Part of the problem is that those responsible for education were trained at a time when the technology we now take for granted, didn’t exist. “There are things about our mindsets as educators that have been around for more than a century and they haven’t changed,” says McCain. “I want to challenge us to do new things.”

Instead of memorizing and regurgitating cold facts, McCain has his students do role-playing, creative problem-solving, all the while incorporating state-of-the-art technology. “Whatever I had the kids doing, I wanted them to develop higher-level thinking skills,” he says. In 1997, McCain received the Prime Minister’s Award For Teaching Excellence for his work in developing a real-world technology curriculum for Grade 11 and 12 students at Maple Ridge Secondary School. A lot of jobs that exist today will be automated or outsourced, and the people who succeed in tomorrow’s job market will be the ones with those skills, McCain notes. There will be a plateau, he admits, a point at which the rapid evolution of technology will begin to slow. That plateau is still a long way off, he believes. For now, educators need to embrace technology, because it will only become a bigger part of everyday life.

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11 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

Dick Drew


ick Drew is best known as the creator, host and script writer of the daily radio series called The Canadian Achievers. The show broadcast from 1985 until 1999 and was Canada’s most successful syndicated radio program. On the program, Drew told the true stories of ordinary Canadians who worked hard to become extraordinary people. Remarkable stories just like Drew’s own. He credits his wife Aline for his discovery of ShelterBoxes back in 2003. At a rotary convention in Brisbane, Australia, Aline spotted the boxes from among 300 to 400 displays and told Dick to take a look at them. Dick walked over and was immediately captivated by the concept. “As soon as you saw it, you said, “Wow, what an idea.” A ShelterBox is a durable, lightweight, plastic container about the size of a large suitcase that holds emergency supplies and tools for victims of disasters. Drew obtained four of the boxes from ShelterBox UK in England and

started displaying them at Rotary club conventions across B.C. and the western United States. “You just went where there was

Rotarian Dick Drew set up the ShelterBox program, a shelter, a home that can help in any emergency. going to be a gathering of Rotarians,” says Drew. “It had to be put in front of them. They had to see it.” The first time Drew put a box on display, in 2005, in Duncan, it caught everybody’s imagination, he says. “It had that effect when we set a bunch of them up in downtown Maple Ridge. People came around and just said ‘Wow!’” In 2008, four shelter boxes were put on display in Memorial Peace Park and over the course of a weekend, Maple Ridge rotarians slept in shifts in the tents to bring awareness to the cause and collect donations. Each box is 57 cm wide by 84 cm long by 60 cm deep and has a capacity of 185 litres. When it is fully packed

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with equipment the box weighs in between 50 to 60 kilograms. The box itself, once empty can be used for food or water storage or a cot for a new born baby. The main item that can be found in every ShelterBox is a disaster relief tent that can withstand extreme temperatures, heavy rain and high winds and has privacy partitions that can be divided as occupants see fit. In addition, boxes can contain thermal blankets and insulated ground sheets for areas that get cold at night, mosquito nets for areas where there is malaria and water purification supplies. A basic tool kit is supplied containing a hammer, axe, saw, trenching shovel, hoe head, pliers and wire cutters. A wood-burning or multi-fuel stove is provided along with pans, utensils, bowls, mugs and water storage containers. The multi-fuel stove can burn anything from diesel to old paint. Lastly, a children’s pack is supplied containing drawing books, crayons, pens and a compass set for those a little older. ShelterBox was founded in England

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by a man named Tom Henderson in April 2000. He launched the project at his Rotary club in Cornwall where it was adopted as the group’s millennium project and quickly became the largest Rotary project in the world. All boxes are packed in Cornwall at ShelterBox headquarters where a variety of equipment is kept in stock in order to adjust the contents of each box according to the region it is being sent to and the urgent needs of the community. Currently, there are more than

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12 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

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1,000 pre-packed boxes stored at locations around the world to enable a fast response to any disaster. In 2005 alone, ShelterBox Canada sent out more than 22,000 boxes to people in disaster zones worldwide including victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami, the homeless after Hurricane Katrina and people affected by the earthquake in the Kashmir region of Pakistan. You can’t make enough of these, says Drew. “The thing about disasters is there’s always a disaster. You know, right now we’ve got disasters in Manitoba and in Quebec and in Mississipppi and those are flood disasters. But there are flood disasters happening in Chili right now and there was an earthquake in Spain.” However, Drew is no longer active with ShelterBox. Back problems make it difficult for him to set up the boxes for display. Now, ShelterBox is represented in B.C. by Marjolein Lloyd, club administrator for the Rotary Club of Westbank in Kelowna. The last one Drew set up was two years ago at Kwantlen Polytechnic

University, and even then he got some students to set it up. “I’m involved in other things,” says Drew. “I write for a magazine on a regular basis. I have always been involved in things. You do something for so long and then you walk away from it. It’s his style, he says. “After so many years of doing something, the way I work is, I set things up, put people in place and then I walk away from it and let them run it.” “Whether it is called ShelterBox or Disaster Aid, the concept of shelter in a box is providing relief to thousands and thousands of people around the world where disasters are occurring.” He adds, “I will always look back fondly on having brought (ShelterBox) in and know that it’s in good hands, whether it’s ShelterBox Canada or Disaster Aid Canada, shelter in a box is still doing well.” If you would like to donate or find out more about the charity go to

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Perfect place to enjoy it all! Ridge Meadows and its residents make it easy to experience all the aspects of a positive life... work, play and love. I appreciate how our customers are loyal to Great Spaces and in turn, I do my part to also support local small businesses. I keep myself fit and balanced with regular strength training and reformer pilates workouts at Fusion Pilates and myself happy by purchasing the incredible baked goods at Don Marco bakery, just to mention a couple! Ridge Meadows is a wonderful community that offers incredible natural beauty as well. I can be found walking the dyke pretty much everyday. It’s everchanging and always leaves me feeling peaceful. In my opinion, much can be resolved on a good walk. Just a few of the many reasons I enjoy living and having my business in Maple Ridge. –Pam

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13 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

By Colleen Flanagan

Tim Sarsfield


s food services director for the Salvation Army’s, The Caring Place, Tim Sarsfield is making a difference. “Here, we combine baker and pastry chef into one category,” says Sarsfield, a fully-qualified chef. “But, actually in Europe you’re either a bread baker or you make the cakes and the pastries,” he explains. After several jobs as a chef, the U.K.-trained Sarsfield decided to start his own business. The outcome was Crumbs Bakery and Café opened in 1996, along Dewdney Trunk Road. Five years later, came More Crumbs Bakery Café on 207th Street. “We were very successful during those 10 years and we still have people talking to this day and asking about us and telling us how much they miss us and we still have a lot of friends and people we met through those businesses,” says Sarsfield. “And we won a lot of awards and did

very well at it. It was a good time for us in our lives,” he says of himself and his wife Marie. Then it was time for a change. The Sarsfields sold both businesses and

Tim worked briefly at a bookstore in Fort Langley. But he was looking for something more. “I knew that wasn’t the job that

would lead me to where I wanted to go. It wasn’t fullfilling enough at that stage. I’d done pastries for so long it wasn’t anything new.” Then one day, as he browsed the Internet, a Christian website popped up showing an ad for a food services manager at the Salvation Army in Maple Ridge. He got the job. “So, I’ve been here for four years now and I love this work I do. I believe it was meant to be. There was some devine intervention there. I think God wanted me to be here, I believe that,” he says. Now, Sarsfield creates all the menus for everything served at Caring Place, including a side catering business that also brings in money for the food services program. “It’s challenging,” says Sarsfield

Tradition & Community Spirit… NOW THAT’S A PERFECT COMBO! A&W’s classic car show has been an annual event at our 228th Street location in Maple Ridge for over 15 years. It has grown with our community to the point where it is now one of the largest shows in Canada, attracting thousands of participants and spectators every year.

On Thursday, August 25th we held our 3rd annual ‘Cruise for a Cause’ charity event to benefit the MS Society of Canada. Last year, a record $700,000 was raised for this worthy cause. With the beautiful summer weather, the live music and the impressive variety of vintage cars on display attracting a huge crowd, we look forward to another successful result this year.

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about putting the menus together. comfortable to approach as well. “It’s challenging because I don’t “I just give them, you know, any know what’s going to come in the bit of wisdom I’ve got. I’ll pass it way of donations,” he says. on to them if it’s beneficial to their “I get a lot of produce come in, future.” mostly produce and dairy. So, I’ll He has always felt it is important see what we’ve got and I’ll order. I’ll in one’s life to give back to the match the protein community and to it whether it’s Tim Sarsfield feels blessed can’t see himself fish or meat.” in any other line of ‘What is our purpose “You have to work. be very creative, here on earth, if we can’t He envisions because we have to the expansion of help each other?” use what we get in current programs order to be able to for both children feed that many people. We have to be and seniors. very creative and use our donations He would like to see more lunch to their maximum, to their best.” programs in schools, in addition to Sarsfield and his team feed, on the bag lunch program that they are average, 300 hungry people a day at already involved with and he would the shelter, plus another 100 people also like to become more involved through a street ministry vehicle with seniors meal programs. that travels the streets on Saturday “I’ve always felt in my heart that it’s nights. important to give back if I was able This translates into 10,000 meals a to. I feel it’s a purpose in a person’s month, all of which depend on him. life. While he’s the chief chef at the “How do I put this? It’s almost as if, Salvation Army, he also enjoys the what is our purpose here on earth, if company and conversation. He finds we can’t help each other?” it easy talking with people and, for some reason, he says, people find him

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15 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

By Monisha Martins

Sharon Malone & John Stuart


hen Sharon Malone and her husband John Stuart moved to Maple Ridge a decade ago, the theatre scene was sorely lacking. The Arts Centre Theatre in the downtown core was yet to be built and the only group which staged plays and musicals had folded four years earlier. For the budding thespians, who had been part of the theatre scene in Williams Lake, Maple Ridge was missing a huge chunk of culture. “We liked the concept of theatre that is open to everybody. For anybody who wants to do it, whether they have experience or not,� says Stuart. Instead of moping around and shedding their artistic inclinations, Stuart and Malone decided to form a theatre group of their own. Emerald Pig, an anagram of Maple Ridge, was born in 2001 and continues to thrive because of volunteers who perform, produce, direct, build, staple, duct tape and sew for the love of live theatre. Emerald Pig’s first play, directed by Stuart, was Silvia by A.R. Gurney. It drew a full-house on each day of its two-night run. “Most of the people we cast in the production were brand new,� reminisces Stuart. He and Malone went home on the first night and

joked the whole experience “was a lot like herding cats.� “Nobody knew anything,� said Stuart, who had to guide the green actors through learning lines and show the back stage crew how to build a stage, while Malone handled costumes, lighting and producing. The Emerald Pig Theatrical Society now stages several productions a year, including one in spring, fall and the extremely popular Bard on the Bandstand every summer.


It’s been a launching pad for not only young actors and actresses but people who’ve gone on to study and work as stage managers, set builders and lighting technicians. A decade on, Emerald Pig or “EPigâ€?, no longer needs Malone and Stuart at the helm of every production - although they still remain fixtures either producing or helping with set design and costumes. “We have mentored people to direct, to stage manage, to act and that’s what community theatre is about,â€? says Stuart. “We have reached a point where it’s not the John and Sharon show anymore.â€? For Stuart, a community without thespians is a place where people live but don’t share or interact - it can’t be called a community at all. “I feel that community theatre people are the best people in the world,â€? says Stuart, proudly. “You have a group of people who are willing to go on stage and put themselves out there. They seem to be more open people. They are more tolerant. They are more caring and loving. And who wouldn’t want to belong to a group like that?â€? • To learn more about Emerald Pig, visit

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Amateur sports in Ridge Meadows the focus of this dedicated volunteer.... • Coached soccer for the Pitt Meadows Soccer Club from U6 to U18 Silver, most years, two teams in the same season • Currently coaching a Mens’ Div 4 team, mostly his old U18 Silver team. He’s also assisting a U 11 boys team, mentoring the head coach


Tony Bell



BOX LACROSSE â&#x20AC;˘ Tony has sat on the executive for 11 years and in his ďŹ nal year was awared the Tully Award for Volunteer Of The Year 2010 â&#x20AC;˘ Coached from Novice house up to Midget B, again coaching two 2 teams in the same year




CURRENTLY â&#x20AC;˘ Govenor of the both the Junior B and Intermediate B Box Lacrosse teams here in Ridge Meadows, as well as assistant coach of the Intermediate B team this past season. The Govonor runs the league programs and is responsible for everything from ďŹ nding the coaching staff to making sure the bills are paid.

16 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

By Monisha Martins

Don MacLean


rom his office in Pitt Meadows’ transformed civic centre, Mayor Don MacLean looks out at a view that he helped create. He points to the old B.C. Assessment building, the townhouses along Harris Road, the ultra-modern glass Solaris towers, the patch of land that will soon house a seniors’ pavilion, the gathering place that is Spirit Square. Farther south, there’s a renewed hockey arena and the waterfront community of Osprey Village – the latter his “pride and joy.” “I have suddenly realized I have nothing more to prove,” says MacLean. “Pretty much everything I set out to accomplish, we’ve accomplished.” Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1948, MacLean grew up in Toronto. He moved out west in 1971, eventually landing a job at Sharpe’s Agency, an insurance broker owned by former Pitt Meadows mayor Danny Sharpe. With a mentor like Sharpe, it seemed natural for MacLean to dive into city politics. He was elected to council in 1990, knocking a sitting councillor off his

seat by 100 votes. Back then, he thought he’d stick around for just one term. Twenty-one years later, he’s glad he lingered longer. “It kind of grabs you. It’s addictive,” he says. MacLean now owns the insurance agency founded by Sharpe and has relocated to commercial space on the ground level in one of the Solaris towers. In April, after three months of contemplation, and eight terms on council – four as mayor – MacLean decided it was time to tell the city he’ll be taking a back seat come November. He’s ready to pass the baton to someone else, sail out on a high point, you might say. “The city will never be finished,” says MacLean. There will always be projects to complete, neighbourhoods to transform and funding to seek.

“At some point in time, when you are happy with what you’ve done, you have no regrets, you can leave with a clear conscience.” In November, when he hangs up his chain of office, he intends to go travelling with his fiancé Diana. He’d like to enjoy life and leisurely pursuits while he’s still young and healthy. Frankly, he jokes, there are enough plaques around the city with his name on it. “I could keep on doing this, but one day they would find me slumped in my chair dead or maybe they would find me after three days and nobody would notice,” MacLean says wryly. He credits much of what has been accomplished during his 21 years in office to having worked with great council members and an incredible staff who have shared his dedication to the city. Councillors rarely squabble and

seldom disagree these days. MacLean believes it’s because everyone on council is more than just a colleague, they are friends. Coun. Doug Bing is MacLean’s dentist, Gwen O’Connell is his Starbucks companion. “Friendships always go far beyond politics. It’s the respect you have for each other. After I leave, all these people will still be my friends.” A boxing enthusiast, and Mike Tyson fan, MacLean likens his exit to leaving while you still hold the championship title. He heard hundreds of boxers say: Just one more fight. “They don’t go down in the history books. They are just a footnote. I think politicians can be the same.”

Advice to his successor: • tell the truth; • always be honest; • when half a dozen people show up and they are really unhappy with something at a public hearing, think about the 17,000 that didn’t show up - the people who are largely happy are the silent majority.

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Linda King


fter six terms, Linda King has had enough. She’s turning in her Blackberry and agenda packages this fall and won’t stand for re-election to Maple Ridge council. Maybe. Well, at least not for the next three years. It’s not impossible, she’ll try again after the 2011 elections because it seems to work out to serve two terms, six years at a time. On the other hand, King, first elected in 1987, could be finished her career as a municipal politician. “When I was elected, I didn’t know anything,” said King, remembering the early days, She’s learned a bit since and offers this to any successors: “Go in with an open mind and be ready to learn and figure out how to ask a good question. And bear in mind that a question is not a speech.” And listen, she adds. Listen to the people who elected you and be willing to work with your elected colleagues, “whoever they are. “We have a small, tiny government. There are only seven people.” King got on to council as part of a group of women who wanted to increase their numbers in local politics. She was the one chosen to run for office and was surprised when she was elected. Until then, only Betty Dube, Bernice Gehring,

Bell Morse and Mae Cabbott had sat at the council table for the District of Maple Ridge, incorporated in 1874. “It took 100 years to elect one woman and that was Betty Dube,” King said. King joined council when she was a social worker with the B.C. government and earned her master’s in counselling psychology at UBC soon after. Those days, social workers handled everything from investigations, adoptions, foster families and intake. “It was so interesting.” Before that, she taught high school in Toronto and Edmonton after getting her teaching certificate at the University of Toronto and a history degree at Dalhousie University in Halifax. She was born in Montreal and also has lived in Ottawa and Winnipeg. “A piece of my heart is always in Montreal,” she says. Her third non-political career was as a counsellor with the Maple Ridge school district, from which she retired in 2007. King appreciates the education she has and credits her family for putting a premium on that. “It allows you to be really open to the world of ideas. It gives you the skills to be able to assess things and not take them at face value.” And you meet way more people who are smarter than you, she adds.

After 18 years on council, King sees more accomplishments than disappointments. She considers the district’s streamside protection regulations, which usually require 30-metre setbacks along stream banks, as a huge achievement, particularly when the province allowed cities to adopt looser rules in 2005. Protection of the streams started before that however. That actually began in 1988 when teacher Arthur Peake presented photos to council about the sorry state of McKechnie Creek. “I really credit him with it, really.” After seeing that, council decided immediately to protect its streams. “Council was immediately



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18 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

By Phil Melnychuk

responsive. We have to do something about that.” King also counts moving the public works yard to 238th Street and Dewdney Trunk Road in the 1990s and the soon-to-open new B.C. SPCA animal shelter as another milestone. For the latter, “we talked about that at so many councils. It’s just terrible that it took so long.” King says those achievements are all council’s work. “It’s always a group effort, I think. “I think our downtown is way more beautiful now than when I started. That comes from having better standards of planning and doing it.” “The idea that we actually have trees as part of development proposals,” … many things are taken for granted now, she adds. One disappointment was allowing development in Silver Valley at the same time as Albion and Cottonwood. “We decided to go everywhere, all at once, and that made us sprawl more.” It’s going to be a struggle to provide services such as transit in Silver Valley, she adds.

A major task was getting the West Coast Express commuter rail service online in 1995 from Mission to Vancouver. The service started with five westbound trains in the morning rush hour and five eastbound trains at night. It still has the same schedule today, though the trains are longer. A commuter train may seem like common sense now but King says getting the Express took 25 years of prodding and persuasion by municipal councillors to persuade CP Rail and the provincial government. “We lobbied, lobbied and lobbied to get the train. That didn’t happen by itself. “Pressure, pressure, pressure,” she said remembering those efforts. Still, King is a champion of Maple Ridge. The downtown provides a focal point for the municipality, unlike a centre, unlike Surrey or Burnaby. “We’ve kept the rural areas that people value. “You can go to the top of Golden Ears if you start walking from the downtown.

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19 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

The Pitt Polder Preservation Society


icture the boggy expanse of the Pitt Polder, its lush green knolls and wetlands dotted with homes. Never, you say. The area that’s one of the region’s most productive agricultural areas, a wetland that’s a resting and nesting place for migratory birds, a sacred expanse in First Nation legend would never be paved over or spoiled with million dollar mansions. But 15 years ago that’s exactly what was planned. Skylark, the former owners of Swan-e-Set Golf Course, envisioned a 450 home subdivision in the polder, a business retreat, hotel and equestrian centre. The ensuing battle that lasted four years tested the mettle of the Pitt Polder Preservation Society, a feisty group formed to stop the housing project.

“It was just such an irresponsible development,” says Diana Williams, a founding member and now president of a society that later helped preserve unique Blaney Bog and the Codd Island Wetlands. Stopping the Skylark development wasn’t easy, especially since the plan had the blessing of the council of the day who the polder society took to court. They stood their ground after the B.C. Supreme Court dismissed their case and appealed, eventually getting the bylaw that authorized the development squashed. The society marked its demise by staging a funeral procession in Pitt Meadows council chambers. Since then, the Pitt Polder Preservation Society has become an even more vocal voice, speaking up against projects and plans that threaten the environment, rural

life and farmland in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge. “It’s unfortunate that this group has to be around,” says Williams. For vice-president Peter Jongbloed, the pressure on the environment is much stronger now than it was a decade ago. “We have to counter that,” he says. The society is currently focused on saving portions of the Albion Flats and is keeping a close eye on development in the North Lougheed commercial corridor in Pitt Meadows as well as a road through acres of farmland that will eventually service it. Their concerns have also led to political activism. The society doesn’t hesitate to fire off a letter to any level of government. They’ve led many successful petitions and rallies and now boast a membership

By Monisha Martins

of 200. Carly O’Rouke, one of its younger members, couldn’t imagine the natural beauty of the Pitt Polder ever being altered. “The idea that the Pitt Polder could ever be lost to development is a nauseating nightmare,” says O’Rouke, the society’s secretary as she pictures “pavement stretching to Pitt Lake and animals losing their precious habitat.” “It’s actually inconceivable to me, because I believe those people that care deeply, such as PPPS, have the iron will to keep it protected for the sake of other species and our own quality of life. Generation after generation will continue to see cranes and other wildlife in the polder, and it will be in those moments they realize how fortunate they are to live here.”

22 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

Dr. Biju Mathew

Ridge. “We decided to share our culture in a positive light,” he says. “Some of the very first settlers in Maple Ridge were from India.” The society holds an annual gala to raise funds for the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation, McKenney Creek Hospice, and the Cythera Transition House for abused women. “All the money stays in the community,” says Mathew. But Mathew’s impact on Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows goes beyond fundraising.

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Serving the Community Since 1930 As Ridge Meadows Hospital’s Chief of Psychiatry and the Clinical Director of Psychiatry, he has dedicated his career to the care and support of those living with mental illness, and worked hard to change people’s perceptions about it. “There is a huge amount of stigma around mental illness,” he says. “And when you have a stigma, people don’t want to talk about it, and they don’t seek help. “But it is an illness, and it needs to be treated like any other illness.” Those efforts were recognized last year, as Mathew received the prestigious Bharat Gaurav (Pride of India) Award from the India International Friendship Society in New Dehli, joining an impressive list of recipients, including Mother Teresa. “I love my job immensely,” he says. “I feel very priveleged to work with the people I do.”

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23 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011





r. Biju Mathew spent half a lifetime and travelled threequarters of the way around the world before he ended up in Maple Ridge. Now that Mathew, the head of Ridge Meadows Hospital’s psychiatry department, is here, he says he has no plans to leave. “This is home now,” says Mathew. “In a lot of ways it reminds me of where I grew up.” Mathew originally hails from the Southern Indian state of Kerala. When he longs for his birthplace, he looks out his window towards Golden Ears to remind him of the Western Ghats that flank the Indian coastline. Mathew’s route to Maple Ridge was circuitous one. After studying in Bangalore, Mathew completed his post-graduate schooling in the UK, becoming a psychiatrist. Mathew moved to Canada in 1989, settling in Sydney, Nova Scotia, to be closer to his extended family, much of whom had made their way to North America. The Canadian winter, however, he was not prepared for. “It was too cold, so we didn’t stay for long,” he says. Two years later, Mathew and his family moved to Stratford, Ont. After his wife got into two car accidents while driving in the harsh winter conditions, Mathew decided to move somewhere where his family wouldn’t be at risk. Mathew moved his young family out West, and fell in love with the natural beauty Maple Ridge has to offer. “I live right on the river now, and it is magnificent,” he says. “I could never move anywhere else from here.” Though Mathew has found his paradise here in Maple Ridge, the memories of his home remain close to his heart. “Kerala is a very beautiful place,” he says nostalgically. “It has very high literacy, it’s highly educated, and has first-world standards of health care. “Unlike the rest of India, it’s almost pollution free.” It also has a rich cultural history, one that was largely unrepresented in Maple Ridge, despite a sizable Indian population living locally. So Mathew helped form the Ridge Meadows South Asian Cultural Society, in part to help revitalize South Asian culture in Maple

By Robert Mangelsdorf

Tony Cotroneo


ony Cotroneo will never forget Glen Robert Edwards. Tony met Glen when he first moved to Maple Ridge from Ottawa in 1994. At the time, Glen was a troubled 12-year-old and in one of the first groups of youth that Cotroneo met here. As a youth worker for Ridge Meadows Parks and Leisure Services Youth Outreach Initiative, Cotroneo reached out and got to know Glen’s soft side. “I always saw a gentle side to Glen that he wanted to be part of something,” reflects Cotroneo. “You know, always caught between being hungry and volunteering. Like that type of stuff. Like caught between the frustration of not having something to, ‘how do I get it.’” Glen died in 1999 after he stole a car, took a hostage and was subsequently shot by the Kelowna RCMP. It is Glen’s sad passing that keeps Cotroneo motivated – to never have another ending like that. Cotroneo has been working with youth since 1987. He was responsible for youth programming in three neighbourhoods in Ottawa when he was asked to come to Maple Ridge and pilot a couple of projects that were on the go. He anticipated spending a couple of years here to check things out and see the projects to fruition. He never went back.

“I just saw tremendous potential within our community and in the area of youth services. And you know, 17 years later, I am still here and we’re still growing.” Now as recreation manager, youth and neighbourhood services, Cotroneo says with pride that Maple Ridge is cutting edge when it comes to youth programming in Canada. The Greg Moore Youth Centre, built in 2001, is a one-of-a-kind municipal facility for youth.

“There is nowhere in Canada do they have a place like the Greg Moore Youth Centre,” he maintains. “Where it’s municipally funded and it is there for youth. There is a set budget for it. “And you know,” he adds, “it’s not an afterthought. It was built specifically for youth and with youth in mind.” Unlike lots of other youth lounges that are converted from lunchrooms or old portables, the Greg Moore Youth Centre had youth involved from the building of the centre to the programming, which was a new concept in 1994, when the youth centre society started planning for the facility. It is how youth programs everywhere are now generally run and how, in Cotroneo’s opinion, they should be run. From July to December 2010 and from January to June 2011, the Greg Moore Youth Centre was open for 46,000 hours of use, that’s around 4,000 hours a month, seven days a week. There is a youth council made up of 30 members between the ages of 12- to 18-yearsold whose focus is to promote youth in the community, getting youth active and promoting positive community engagement and healthy decision making. Programs at the centre include a youth leadership development program, a mentorship program, open gym sessions, RCMP intramurals where

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24 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

By Colleen Flanagan

cooperative games are played, preteen dances and numerous summer activities and excursions including movies in the park at Memorial Peace Park every Thursday at dusk during the summer months and a yearly five day leadership-based retreat to Lake Lovely Water. Cotroneo was 12 years old when he met his role model, Pat Brennan, who was a director at the summer camp for underprivileged children. Brennan took Cotroneo under his wing. He helped him get his first pair of skates and his first set of hockey equipment. He helped him register for hockey and helped his brothers along the way. He connected Cotroneo with a junior high school where he could play football, basketball and hockey. “Ultimately, I know I am responsible for my success. But he showed me the avenues. He helped me get there and opened some doors for me and it is really the basis of who I am today.” Now, Cotroneo is a role model for a new generation of adolescents. When Cotroneo met Meghan MacMillan and Jenn Baillie they

were 12 years old. Now they are 29 and 30, respectively, and full-time employees at the centre. Cotroneo credits them with the success of the centre today. “They are a couple of youth who came to volunteer and really, I think at the end of the day, guided the direction of everything we do,” he says with a smile. “They basically helped to build a youth centre that they knew they would be too old to use when it was finished. That’s the type of character they possess.” They have followed the philosophy of the program, explains Cotroneo, from being a non-participant to a volunteer to a leader in our community to employability. “And they still give. You can see how they work with children and youth, that they have such a vested interest in our community. “And to really be part of someone’s life for more than half their life is,” he trails off, perhaps pondering Brennan and his own childhood. “And they will be part of my life for the rest of my life too.”


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25 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

Adam Francilia


ucked away in a modest industrial park in Maple Ridge is a factory of sorts. It is here, at the Fitlife Center For Health and Performance, that trainer Adam Francilia pumps out elite athletes like they were automobiles coming off an assembly line. On this typical day, there are two dozen of the best hockey players from Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, and beyond sprawled out on the floor, stretching out their arms and legs. These players are a who’s who of the WHL, NCAA, AHL, and the NHL. Francilia puts the young men through their paces. They twist and hurl medicine balls across the room like they were tossing beach balls, they snatch and jerk kettle balls as if they were nothing more than grocery bags. This goes on for hours. On the walls of the gym hang the jerseys of Francilia’s past clients who have gone on to sporting greatness: Minnesota Twins outfielder Rene Tosoni; Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd; Canadian national U-20 soccer team member Paige Adams. Below the jerseys hang motivational posters, instructing the young athletes in simple terms how they too can ascend to greatness in their discpline. Persistance, one reads. Strength, says another. Nutrition. Success. It’s a formula Francilia has practised his whole

life. “I want them to be perfect in here, so they don’t have to think when they are on the field or on the rink,” he says. “And if you aren’t prepared to put the effort in, you won’t get the rewards.” Every exercise incorporates multiple elements, Francilia explains, designed to mimic situations an athlete will encounter in game action. In addition to developing strength and stamina, Francilia’s exercises incorporate balance and coordination to help the athletes hone their motor skills. “We’re trying to get them to develop a complete mastery of their nervous system,” he says. In addition to exercise and training, Francilia focuses on diet, sleep patterns, even bowel movements. “Anything that grows on earth is all we need for complete nutrition,” he says. Unadulterated food - not sprayed, nuked, or processed - is one of the fundamental keys to getting the most out of a high-performance athlete. “These are life lessons, and the choices we make now affect us years down the road. If they are lucky, an athlete might have a 20-year career,” he says. “We want them to be able to pick up their great-grandkids.” Francilia began to develop his holistic approach after aging out of the B.C. Junior Football League at age 22. However, that he even made it into the league

is a testament to his own perseverance. While Francilia played sports growing up, notably rep soccer with Coquitlam Metro Ford, the vast majority of his spare time was spent playing violin. “Violin was my life,” he says. Despite scholarship offers to study classical violin after he graduated high school, Francilia decided to forego college and pursue the sport he’d always loved, but had never played: football.

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By Robert Mangelsdorf

The expansion Coquitlam Bulldogs were holding open tryouts to fill out their roster and Francilia, despite never having played the game before, decided to join the scores of high school and community football all-stars and attempt to make the team. “I remember sitting in the dressing room and waiting for the guy next to me to put on his pads, because I didn’t know how to put them on myself,” Francilia says. He didn’t have the size or the experience the other players did, but he was fast, he had good hands, and he worked hard. Against all odds, Francilia made the team, going on to play four seasons with the Bulldogs as a receiver. After aging out of the BCJFL, Francilia began to gravitate towards bodybuilding, but was disgusted by how many of the competitors were abusing their bodies. “That’s a dangerous lifestyle,” he says. “It wasn’t something I wanted to be a part of.” Francilia’s first client was the friend of a coworker who was obese,

had never played sports, and had no idea how eat healthily. Francilia had one rule: Do exactly what I tell you, and eat exactly what I tell you. Within a year, he had lost more than 60 pounds. “He lost it the right way,” Francilia said. “He dropped the fat, gained muscle, and learned how to live his life in a healthy way.” Four months later, Francilia was a full-time trainer. Now, the best athletes in the Lower Mainland flock to Francilia’s gym. Major League baseball players, professional lacrosse players, golfers, gymnasts, and of course, hockey players. Francilia will spend hours studying an athlete in action to analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Despite the jerseys that hang on his gym’s walls, Francilia says he is just as proud of the 55-year-old woman he rehabilitated from three car accidents. The goal is the same: to teach people how to live longer healthier lives. “It’s about educating people,” he says. “It’s a lifestyle.”

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27 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

The Heartbeat Of Our Business Community. Chamber of Commerce

Rick Laing

Serving Maple Ridge ge & Pitt Meadows Jesse Sidhu – Executive Director, Chamber of Commerce Serving Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows Jesse Sidhu is the Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce serving Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. Appointed to the position in December 2010, Jesse has been instrumental in focusing the Chamber’s strategies towards growth and greater support of its membership. Jesse firmly believes that the main role of the Chamber is to support local business and to help entrepreneurs grow and develop their companies in a changing and challenging market. To this end, the Chamber organizes various events to assist business such as Business Excellence Awards, Social Media Summit 2011, educational seminars, business luncheons, etc. Jesse’s experience in event planning and his entrepreneurial spirit is proving to be of great value to the Chamber of Commerce. As Executive Director, Jesse is also involved in all the committees of the Chamber, more importantly, the nominations committee, which is chaired by the Chamber President, Ken Holland. The current board is comprised of 10 highly respected, local business people who would like to initiate new ideas, affect, inform and influence the business community.


The Executive Director also plays a critical role in maintaining amicable links with Tourism, the BIA and Mayor and Council. Jesse feels that business cannot develop in isolation so the Chamber’s relationship with these groups is vital for all to succeed. Being Executive Director of a busy Chamber means that normal office hours are non - existent. Jesse attends numerous evening and weekend functions and often supports the activities of other organizations. Jesse Sidhu is confident of the success of the Chamber. He believes it all starts with having strong leadership at the board level and he firmly believes it is poised to become one of the leading Chambers of Commerce in the Lower Mainland. Jesse is proud to be part of the leadership driving this growth.

604-463-3366 22238 Lougheed Hwy., Maple Ridge

fter a quarter of a century plucking people off mountainsides, trudging through the dark to rescue stranded hikers or confused elderly or adventure addicts who just pushed the envelope too far, Rick Laing still feels it. It’s that twinge of excitement, that rush of adrenaline when the phone rings and the volunteers at Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue mobilize. “Even after 26 years, when the pager goes off, the heart still beats a little faster,” he says. “You still get excited.” And like many say, if you no longer feel that, then it’s time to get out, he adds. Laing has been team manager for search and rescue, based in the Albion Fairgrounds, for that many years. He’s seen the organization grow from a handful of enthusiasts to 23 active members who train weekly and take constant upgrading courses to keep their skills sharp if they’re needed for cliff side or white water rescues. Since he joined, he’s seen the group move in 1996, to a permanent, spacious home near Planet Ice, large enough to hold three trucks and three boats as well as the Hermanator, the hovercraft that search and rescue acquired in 2007. Laing admits, the rush of responding to an emergency is one of the attractions of search and rescue. And rescuing and saving someone who was at risk of dying – well there’s no better feeling than that at the end of the day. “There’s really nothing like it. Every so often we truly save

someone’s life. That’s a memorable experience. That puts it all together when you’re able to do that.” Laing has no problem giving 20 to 30 hours a week to Search and Rescue. Thanks to his job as an industrial engraver, he’s able to do that. “It’s nice to be able to give back to the community and help out.” But he’s honest about the benefits. “There are not many organizations you can belong to where you get to do all sorts of fun stuff and get all this training as well.” Search and rescue get involved in everything from flying in helicopters to riding on boats and rapelling down cliffs to white water rescue, though he now leaves the riskier stuff to the younger volunteers. “I’m the old man on the team now,” he notes. So far, this year has been a quiet year, with the 15 or so calls this year at about half what usually happens every summer. Some might conclude that with smartphones and Twitter accounts people are opting for more screen time than outdoors time but the statistics show people are getting out just as much, Laing says. What is reducing the number of call outs is the technology people are carrying with them. GPS and cellphones (providing the battery works) are reducing the number of real or potential emergencies. Previously, a worried spouse would call SAR if she or he hadn’t heard by nightfall. Now, thanks to cellphones, search and rescue doesn’t even hear about it. “People are able to keep in touch better when they’re out there in

28 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

By Phil Melnychuk

the wilderness.” In the last few years, there have been some memorable searches in which Ridge Meadows has joined other Lower Mainland teams on larger missions. Last year, despite an intensive search, they never did find Tyler Wright who went missing a year ago near Squamish.

Search and rescue manager likes giving back because it’s such a rush. They did however find an elderly lady who went looking for fiddlehead ferns a few years ago in the trails near the Rock Ridge area of Maple Ridge. They found her body three days later, likely the victim of a fall. It’s difficult enough to find someone when they are mobile and able to hear and respond to calls. But when a person can’t do that, the task is even more difficult. Someone can literally be at a searcher’s feet and unless he or she looks exactly there, they’ll never see.

“You can walk right by them, and sometimes if you’re head is turned the wrong way, you can miss them.” Another search that turned up empty last year was near Whistler. A couple just disappeared, without a trace. Laing’s advice to anyone who gets lost. “Stay put. Wait for help to arrive.” Moving around at night in the mountains of the West Coast can get you in a lot of trouble, such as the SFU students who wanted to take a short cut down the mountain, at night. One followed the other to their deaths into the black abyss after stepping off a cliff. “It’s easy to walk off the edge of a cliff.” He’s not a big follower of the TV series Survivorman but agrees with the main advice from that show. You panic, you die. “If you panic, you can certainly get yourself in trouble.” Just stay put, he says. Make some kind of a shelter and wait. “We’ll be coming out at night – and you’ll hear us coming.”

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Donations welcome 7 days a week Not sure what we accept? – Call 604-467-4671.

CELEBRATING 56TH YEAR Community Has Rich Baseball History erving as President of the Ridge Meadows Minor Baseball Association for the last six years has been a true honour and a privilege. As we complete our 56th year in operation as the RMMBA we have had many accomplishments to be proud of and many great people have served our community in this way.


We have had the benefit of many outstanding partnerships; RM Parks & Leisure Services, BC Minor Baseball, our Local Sponsors, the School District, and all of the other wonderful Sporting Associations we share our community with. We are blessed to have had the support of these partners and look forward to building our community with them.

The Ridge Meadows Minor Baseball Association began formerly operating in 1955 however there was a rich history of baseball in the community from as early as the turn of the century. Hammond Stadium in its former glory could entertain crowds of up to 2500 people to see our home town teams take on opponents from up and down the Fraser River.

The RMMBA has some unfinished business; our dream is to see a Signature Stadium built in our community that would celebrate our athletes and provide a destination for National and World Class Events. Because of the commitment and dedication of tremendous volunteers we are positioned to be successful for another 56 years in the community. If British Columbia is the ‘Best Place on Earth’ then we truly believe that Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows is the ‘Best Community’ to live and to raise a family in. The RMMBA is proud to be part of our wonderful community!

The Vision for the Ridge Meadows Minor Baseball Association was to continue to provide a costeffective, development based program that could be enjoyed by all families in our community. We rolled out our Four Pillars Philosophy which focused on strength in the following areas; Development, Sustainability, Accountability and Transparency.

One our primary goals were to foster relationships and become a ‘great partner’ in the community.

Mark Kauhane President, RMMBA

29 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

Sports Stars


or young athletes in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, there is no shortage of local sports heroes to look up to. In every sport imaginable, it seems a local resident has ascended to the highest levels imaginable.

Stars of Yesterday Debbie Brill Brill and her signature “Brill Bend” technique won a pair of gold medals in the high jump at the Commonwealth Games, first in 1970, and then in 1982, after returning to the sport just five months after giving birth to her first child. Brill also took gold in the 1971 Pan American Games, and finished fifth at the 1984 Summer Olympics. Larry Walker The name Larry Walker is synonymous with baseball here in Maple Ridge, and for good reason. During his 16-year career in the majors, Walker was a five-time all-star, seven-time Golden Glove winner, three-time Silver Slugger winner, and the National League MVP for 1997. Walker’s career was hampered by injuries, but his numbers are none-the-less impressive: .313 batting average, 1,311 RBIs, and 383 home runs. Greg Moore Greg Moore, a graduate of Pitt Meadows secondary, won five races in his Indy Car racing career. Sadly, Moore’s career was cut short after

only four seasons when he was killed in a violent crash at the Marlboro 500 in Fontana, California on Oct. 31, 1999. Moore’s family donated to the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation, money that was used to build the state-of-theart emergency room that now bears his name.

Junior Championship and a pair of Stanley Cup championships. Ladd was named captain of the Atlanta Thrashers last season, and will likely be the team’s leader after they move to Winnipeg. Ladd has 208 points in 402 NHL games, including a career-high 59 points last season with Atlanta.

Cam Neely Hockey-Hall-of-Famer Cam Neely spent much of his early life bouncing from town to town, but the Neely clan finally settled down in Maple Ridge, and it is here that Bam Bam Cam still considers to be his home town. After an NHL career with the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins where he amassed 694 points in 726 games, Neely is now the president of the Boston Bruins organization.

Stars of Today Andrew Ladd Ladd graduated from Maple Ridge secondary and has developed a reputation for winning in his hockey career thus far, having won a World

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Brandon Yip After winning the NCAA national hockey championship with the Boston University Terriers in 2009, Yip successfully transitioned to the NHL later that year, scoring 19 points in 32 games with Colorado Avalanche in 2009/10. Yip topped those numbers last season. Brendan Morrison Morrison also won an NCAA national championship, with the University of Michigan Wolverines in 1996, as well as the prestigious Hobey Baker award in 1997 as the NCAA’s top hockey player before making the move to the NHL. Although he was drafted by the New Jersey Devils, Morrison is most well known for his

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30 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

By Robert Mangelsdorf

eight years with the Vancouver Canucks where he centred the West Coast Express line alongside Todd Bertuzzi and Markus Naslund. Morrison, 35, had 43 points last season with Calgary, and has 590 points in 895 games over his 14 year NHL career.

basketball world. After averaging more than 30 points per game at this year’s provincial championships with the Maple Ridge Ramblers, Orum was named to the Canadian women’s U-17 development team. Orum was also named a first-team all-star at the 2010 U-15 national championships, where she helped lead Team B.C. to a bronze medal.

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31 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

CEED Centre hey meet Wednesday mornings in old Port Haney, in the old Japanese school house, now part of the CEED Centre and try to save the world. Whether it’s teaching kids to plant and harvest vegetables, helping out with a resume, or trying to kickstart the transition to a postoil economy, the folks at the Community Education on Environment and Development Centre are concerned. At one of their May coffee sessions, the boardroom table was decorated with snacks of oranges and apples and almonds and Chris Moerman had a project that will add to the knowledge about growing food locally and becoming more sustainable. He’s started a Farm For a Year project and along with his brother and a friend will grow food, in a self-sustaining manner, on a 2.5acre piece of land in Maple Ridge in which he was raised. Sitting nearby is Gerry Pinel, who’s launched the Golden Ears Transitional Initiative. That’s a worldwide movement that started in England five years ago. He wants Maple Ridge to join that movement by becoming a more closely knit community, less dependent on global suppliers of food, services and energy. “How do you change a community – so that community becomes strong and less


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somewhere else,” adds Christian Cowley, executive-director at the CEED Centre. He’s quick to point out the origins of the orange, apple and almonds that are the morning’s snacks for the discussion group.

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32 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

By Phil Melnychuk

The oranges and almonds come from across the border, he concedes. “It’s a very eclectic group (of people). The conversation goes where ever it goes,” explains another. At the same table Lisa Eastham is planning a workshop to teach people how to make reusable shopping bags and Kim Lauzon is starting a community co-op to provide food and local goods to co-op members. The CEED Centre used to be called the Fraser Information Society and was founded in 1984. Its website says it’s “guided by the values of social cooperation and participation, inclusivity, and equal opportunity,” and has three focus points, food security, community development and heritage preservation. Cowley points out the Golden Ears Transitional Initiative program is not about eliminating trade, but finding better ways of trading, and building local economies that can survive global challenges. One company for which Cowley once worked exported bricks to Japan. “Insane,” he says. Meanwhile, B.C. apples are exported to Washington state, while Washington apples are sold here, he points out. Maple Ridge is next to one of the cranberry capitals of Canada, Pitt Meadows, but it’s impossible to buy local cranberries, says

another. If you buy cranberries here, they’ll come from Montreal, while the locally grown are shipped out of B.C. Cowley predicts that a post-oil economy will evolve gradually. “It’s not going to be a sharp collapse, but instead a series of little jolts as adjustment takes place. “The markets are already adapting,” to high oil prices, he says. One example of building locally, is taking place in England, where hospitals ensure that part of their food is locally grown. That’s resulted in a simplification of meals, less waste and happier farmers and patients. Fraser Health, though, buys food like it buys toilet paper, he notes. Having one hospital buy food locally, could support a lot of farmers, he adds. “People really crave a sense of community and the CEED Centre is one of those places where they can get that sense.” One new program involves St. George’s Anglican Church. Its Saturday night community suppers will now take place in the CEED Centre. (linking people with garden space), the CanadaGrowSmart pesticide alternatives program, as well its compost education program, not to mention

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Earth Day and the Community Access Program it offers on behalf of the federal government that allows job hunters to access Internet and print resumes are all available at the CEED Centre. Sometimes the discussion gets political, but the CEED Centre has no formal alliances. Cowley’s background, however, is in business and finance. The only paid, part-time staffer has a masters in business administration and worked in Toyko, writing investor relations material and translating, then formed his own company in 1991 doing the same work. After returning to Canada, he created a second company, Canadian Sourcing Services, in which he was a purchasing agent for Japanese companies buying B.C. building materials. “But then the Japanese financial markets crashed. Most of my key clients went bankrupt.” So he answered an ad for an executivedirector for the centre in 2004. He used to be active in the Japanese community in Vancouver and the old Japanese school attracted him. “What I do here is community development. It requires an entrepreneurial mindset but the rewards are wonderful.”

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33 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

By Colleen Flanagan

Dave McKenzie


ave MacKenzie hopes that one day there no longer will be a need for Camp Goodtimes. MacKenzie, director of camps for the Canadian Cancer Society, hopes that once the cure for cancer comes along, he won’t be running camps for children with the disease. Instead, he’d just like to support camps for children dealing with the aftermaths of treatment or for hosting reunions for survivors. Camp Goodtimes provides free, medically supervised summer camping sessions for children whose lives have been affected by cancer. “The goal,” says MacKenzie in a calm voice, “is to create, I guess what the kids themselves will call, a normal environment for them.” Sessions are planned to hold the kinds of activities designed for a full summer camp experience, including swimming, arts and crafts and campfire with additional special events like a carnival or casino night. And every activity the children participate in includes everybody. “So we wouldn’t just start up a casino night or a soccer game or a dance without considering the entire group of kids that are coming this summer.” Twenty five children took part in Camp Goodtimes first year in 1985. Today, there are between 600 to 700 participants in the summer camp program. This also includes a couple of sessions for parents and caregivers as well. “That’s our clients, our families,” says MacKenzie. “We also support siblings of those kids and sometimes the support for the family is quite direct in that we have the entire family on site and have peer-support sessions for the parents and care givers.” Vancouver born Dave MacKenzie got involved with Camp Goodtimes 20 years ago as a volunteer when he was 18-years-old and fresh out of high school. He was recruited by the camp director for Camp Goodtimes at that time along with other young people to go through the interview process and learn about the camps. From that first year on, MacKenzie says he enjoyed the mission of the camp and what it does for the people. “I must have volunteered for about eight years,” says MacKenzie about his position in the organization that, in time, transitioned into a paid role. In 2003, he took on the role of camp director. There is only a team of five, including MacKenzie, that spend the entire year preparing for the summer camps. “We have a lot of considerations over the medical conditions of the kids and the social and emotional stuff that they may go through,” says MacKenzie. The summer team consists of an additional five employees and 200 volunteers. An additional 100 volunteers are recruited to help with committees and day programs in the spring and fall. MacKenzie also points out the close connection Camp Goodtimes has with B.C. Children’s Hospital. “A lot of other camps don’t have a medical component beyond a first aid attendant,” says

MacKenzie. “We’ll have a team of five or six doctors and nurses, 24 hours a day at all our sessions.” The hospital also promotes the program by passing out information and providing guidelines to how activities are run and how programming is scheduled. MacKenzie, not having had cancer himself, nor having been touched by it in his personal life, couldn’t imagine how he would react if, the tables were turned. He imagines that anyone in that position would possibly fall apart into a long despair and think that this is the end of their life. But, he says, the kids that come to camp don’t see it that way. Cancer can be very painful and scary, says MacKenzie. “And so watching people go through that and having strength and courage to withstand the pain and to carry forward with an attitude like they’re going to beat it is very impressive. “I think it’s life changing,” he adds. “The kids who come to this camp and the families as well would tell us all the time that they go through a life transformation of some kind. And I think that the volunteers and the staff have the same experience.” “In my first year, I met a guy named Jeff and I suppose the impression he made on me was that he just seemed very resilient. He seemed to be full of life and very calm and strong,” says MacKenzie, admitting he did not know what to expect in his first week of camp. He thought that he would be surrounded by a lot of sick children who would look and act really sick. “In any case, Jeff, like a lot of kids I’ve met,” continues MacKenzie, “seemed very healthy and it’s very inspirational to see someone like that go through something like cancer and just seem so normal.” Jeff would eventually lose his battle with the

disease a couple of years later. “But at no time between the time I met him and the time he passed away, did I get any sense that he was being dominated by his cancer. Or that he wasn’t living up to the possibility of each day.” The best part of every session for MacKenzie is the closing ceremonies, even though he admits this might come across in a strange way. “While there is about five or 10 minutes of official closing there is another hour of waiting for the parents to arrive and pick the kids up where we just talk about what the week meant and how much the kids are looking forward to coming back,” he says. Applications for Camp Goodtimes are accepted all year and MacKenzie stresses that it is important to apply because it gives them an idea how long the waiting list is and prompts them to expand if needed. “Our goal is not to turn away any of the applying children who themselves have cancer,” says MacKenzie. MacKenzie urges families that could use their support to get in touch with the Canadian Cancer Society and become connected. “Even when there is an understanding that there is a Camp Goodtimes, there’s a lot of misconceptions that can block someone from following through,” he says. “When a family is ready, which is one thing, it’s knowing that camp doesn’t mean tents. As you can see we have a pretty comfortable setting here.” “We cover 100 per cent of the cost of everyone attending this program. Those costs are covered by donor dollars from the community. And we have a 24-hour medical staff. “So, the camp is free, the camp is very well medically staffed and we have very comfortable buildings,” MacKenzie adds. For more information about Camp Goodtimes phone 604-675-7141 or e-mail at gotcamp@

34 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

By Monisha Martins

Don Waite


hen Don Waite drives past a street in Pitt Meadows or Maple Ridge, the names on each green and white sign have a special meaning. Collected since he arrived in Haney as a police officer in 1967, stored and catalogued in his library, Waite’s been hoarding their history, their tales and quirky stories for years. “I’ve always been curious,” says Waite. Born in Renfrew, Ont., Waite was raised on a dairy farm before joining the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at age 19. After graduating from the depot, he was posted to Burnaby, New Westminster, and Maple Ridge before being transferred back to Ottawa for training in the identification section, a job that entailed crime scene photography and fingerprinting. During his seven-year stint in the force, he worked the burglary detail, narcotics and was one of 100 officers tasked with comparing fingerprints during the Front de Libération du Québec crisis. Waite’s passion for local history was churned early on as a Mountie during tea with Mrs. Hawley, the granddaughter of Maple Ridge pioneer Thomas Haney. “She’d tell me all these stories when I was a cop. I also got to know all the old pioneers and

started collecting. I’d talk to anybody,” says Waite, whose career with the RCMP ended in 1971, when he returned to Maple Ridge to open a camera store.

Vancouver. In 1975, a store employee loaned Waite a book on bird photography by worldrenowned bird photographer Eliot Porter, titled Birds of North America: A Personal Selection.

“Don Waite’s Photo Centre” was a tiny store, near Fuller Watson, 12 feet wide and 20 feet deep. When the store first opened, Waite only owned a 35-millimetre Canon camera and no inventory. He stocked the shelves with camera boxes that he got from stores in Vancouver that actually held no merchandise.

The book spurred Waite to concentrate on photographing birds in flight with high-speed strobes for several years, and in 1984, he co-authored The Art of Photographing North American Birds with Isodor Jeklin of Toronto.

Soon though, the shelves were full. Waite’s always kept a copy of the film negatives he processed for himself, thinking perhaps one day they might be of use. Those boxes and more than 100 feet of film are now stored at the Maple Ridge Museum. “I hated to get rid of an original negative,” says Waite, who went on to publish several historical books, including Fraser Valley Stories, 1972; The Fraser Canyon, 1974; The Cariboo Gold Rush, 1975; and the more recent photographic histories of Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and

come in and


His passion for documenting eventually took him to the skies as an aerial photographer, clicking pictures of Metro Vancouver’s changing landscapes. Now semi-retired, Waite is pursuing two hobbies - photographing birds and sourcing out historical photographs on gold mining and espionage across North America. He also plans to put those photographs and tales into beautiful books. “A single photograph can tell a big story,” he says. “The challenge for me is the words.”

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35 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

By Phil Melnychuk

Haney Horsemen


rom the stables you can saddle up, jump on and ride the rain forests, the mountains and hills of rural Maple Ridge without touching horse shoe to pavement. It’s a pastime that offers renewal and restoration in a digital, iPad world and one of the legacies of the Haney Horsemen Association, a group of die hard wranglers who carved a network of trails that make Maple Ridge the envy of the Lower Mainland. While development sprawls westward, the district’s long-term plan requires new roads or subdivisions to respect existing trails. Any time a project intrudes on an equestrian pathway, the developer has to replace that with an alternative. That way, gaps and breaks in the system are prevented and riders don’t have to risk their lives on the roads. “That is one of the big things Maple Ridge is known for, that we maintain the equestrian trail continuity. We are asked many times – how did Maple Ridge get those goodies – because we went to council and asked,” explained longtime volunteer Bill Archibald. “We’re considered to have the most-

promising and most-active horse trail system in the province.” It’s a 70-kilometre network that’s been assessed at $3.5 million. “For us, we have created a huge asset and we maintain that asset.” Archibald has been with the club from the beginning in 1981 when it held its first annual meeting, after it took over from the Maple Ridge Driving and Riding Club and the B.C. Western Horsemen. Those groups started the system in place today. In 1964, the riding club got approval to build trails on undeveloped road allowances, which opened up vast areas. And a year before Canada’s centennial in 1967, the Western Horsemen built the Centennial Trail that led from municipal hall to Golden Ears Provincial Park. The starting point for that is now Maple Ridge Park. A year later, a major project, the North Fraser Trail, linked Maple Ridge to Mission’s Stave Lake. But while horse lovers just want to get outside, concerns of commerce kept intruding.

The Maple Ridge Driving and Riding Club stopped its trail-building work in 1979 because it couldn’t get liability insurance for its members. That spurred the formation of the Haney Horsemen which got its insurance through the Horse Council of B.C. Under a fee-for-service agreement with the District of Maple Ridge in which the district paid for material costs of maintaining trails, the work went smoothly for years – until someone lost an eye in a mishap on the trail. That happened in the 1990s and resulted in a law suit against the club, one that was dropped after two years. “It turned out to be a very expensive and long-drawn out thing. It was a horrible thing,” said Archibald. “We were named in the suit which was very stressful. We had to get all sorts of records to defend ourselves.” Now, all the trails that are maintained by the club, those on road allowances and boulevards, have signs posted, saying they are horse trails and that anyone using them should expect to encounter horses.

“As long as the motorcycle guys don’t tear them down,” Archibald adds. While the pressures grow to turn them into multi-use trails for use by bikers, hikers and joggers, the club follows its legal advice not to invite such use, even though it knows others do use them. Archibald admits, it’s an underlying feeling that eventually, one day, the horses could be squeezed off some of the very trails for which they were created.

Thanks to all of you for making Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows vibrant communities to live in Our constituency office is here to assist you with: • • • •

Government-related issues Information on government programs Certifying your copies Arranging congratulatory messages




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By Monisha Martins

Bruce Coughlan


ablets, books and bibles, history was shared through song. Tales of battles, births, myths and legend unfolded to the beat of a drum and the hum of human voice. “It’s a tradition that’s older than written language,” says Bruce Coughlan. “People preserve their history and heritage in songs and sagas. I like to think I’m part of that - something that goes way back.” A true bard and the founding member of Tiller’s Folly, Coughlan started his career at 16 as a solo performer touring Western Canada. “When you are stuck in a place for four or five days and you are not really making any money, the cheapest places were museums, used book stores and libraries. From there, I just started getting hooked on B.C. history.” Coughlan’s songwriting and musicianship came to the fore in popular B.C. bands Bare Facts and The High-tops and on his solo CDs Any Day Soon, The Wild Bird’s Nest and A Minstrel in Moray. In 1996, he was searching for an outlet for his vision of a folk-Celtic band singing songs about “the other Maritime province” (B.C.) and Tiller’s Folly was born. His love and passion for the characters and tales of the B.C. coast provided fertile ground for his exceptional songwriting and singing skills. With seven CDs to their credit with titles such as The View From Here, Ghosts of the Mighty Fraser and A Ripple in Time, the songs tell tales of mining

towns, ghosts, prospectors, forgotten heroes, rivers and those 23 doomed camels bought to work in the Cariboo. “Where history is concerned, I think we need to keep in mind how we became such a beautiful province,” says Coughlan, who is currently working on a new album with band mates Laurence Knight and Nolan Murray. His songs are now part of a multi-media show by Tiller’s Folly that tours schools, called Stirring Up Ghosts. Things, however, have changed since he began playing pubs and bars 35 years ago. He remembers a time when the band played through a hockey game and bars were places you gathered in to get away from television. “Musicians sadly play a smaller and smaller role in life now. People expect their music for free,” Coughlan laments, who lives in Maple Ridge. “Mere mortals can’t compete with television on an entertainment level. They don’t want to hear anybody sing. You can pull out your best tunes, It doesn’t matter.” When asked to imagine what a town would be like without musicians, he suggest it would be a neat experiment. Make the tunes stop playing on the radio, black out the music channels, break the guitars, flutes, violins, pianos, drums. “How colourful will your world be when you can’t plug in your Ipods and have a soundtrack to your life?”

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37 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

By Colleen Flanagan

Adrian Walton


hen Adrian Walton was a child his family tried to dissuade him from becoming the crazy lizard guy. They failed. Now, the award-winning Maple Ridge veterinarian who runs the Dewdney Animal Hospital prides himself on the variety of animals, not to mention, exotic animals he takes on year after year. Born in Montreal, Walton grew up in what he terms a zoo. Dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters. “You name it, we had it,” Walton says laughing. He also had fish, frogs and amphibians. His first pet was an eastern box turtle that he got when he was seven, a turtle that will get passed on to his daughter since they can live more than 100 years. When Walton was 15-years-old, his family moved to Toronto. By this time he was breeding lizards for the local pet trade as well as newts for the local stores. “And then I hit 16 and I started to get more interested in other things,” he says. “Girls, and yeah, generally girlfriends and snakes don’t match.” “So, to this day, if you notice, I don’t really keep snakes. Turtles, women are OK with. The cute little frogs that, you know, you see on the calendars? Women are OK with. Twelve-foot boa constrictors or pythons, not so much.” Dr. Walton didn’t always want to be a vet. “Originally I was going to do marine biology, I wanted to be Jacques Cousteau. Except the job turned out to be already taken,” he jokes. He did his undergrad in Halifax on sperm whale eco-location and then his masters in the Philippines on fish farming. Soon after, though, he realized that he would rather work with animals than sitting at a desk doing paperwork and that is when he started applying for vet school. After three tries he got into a five-year veterinarian program at the University of Guelph. The program was intense, says Walton. Walton’s final year of vet school took him to the Tampa Bay Aquarium, where aside from working with injured sea turtles, removing scar tissue from a sting ray and making sure manatees were healthy, he had to perform surgery on a tarantula. The tarantula had damaged its leg, says Walton, “and I had to surgically tie off the leg and remove the extra skin.” Upon graduation in 2000 Walton moved to Redmond, Wash., where he began work at the Redmond Animal Hospital, located 26 kms east of Seattle. It was here that Dr. Walton organized a kidney transplant on a cat. A transplant that would cost the owners $50,000, says Walton exasperated. “I was sitting there thinking, ‘God, how many animals could we save for that one cat?’” But, the owners were well off. It was pocket change to them, says Walton. So, the cat was admitted to the clinic and a type of feline dialysis was done over the course of six weeks until the cat could be transported to California where the surgery was to be performed. However, during those six weeks, Dr. Walton

had to find a donor cat, make sure it was completely healthy, make sure it was adopted by the pet owner and make sure the other cat stayed alive until the surgery. “We got lucky,” says Walton as he describes the process of finding the donor cat. “We actually lucked out. We got it on the first one.” “We got lucky in that we were able to find a matching one to the degree that they needed it very quickly,” he adds. Then, Dr. Walton moved to Vancouver and started work at the Eagle Ridge Animal and Bird Hospital in Port Moody. This is where he met Dr. Hugh Upjohn, one of the best exotic vets around. Although neither of them can be considered specialists since you have to be board certified, Dr. Upjohn had taken extra courses, read lots of books and had developed a clientelle. Walton says he learned a lot from Upjohn, knowledge that he has since built a reputation around once he purchased the practice in Maple Ridge in 2007. It was only his first month at the Dewdney Animal Hospital that he was called to collect an abandoned Burmese python in a storefront at Commercial Drive and Broadway in Vancouver. At the time he was on a second date with the woman who would eventually become his wife. “So, the fact that she was willing to take our second date and go pick up a giant snake, I knew that was the woman I had to marry.” Since then, Walton has moved to Maple Ridge and both his clinic and home have been stopping grounds for bald eagles, squirrels, racoons, a Nile monitor, a marmoset, a Mexican axolotl and a gila monster, to name a few. Dr. Walton has a license for the controlled animal species in both places, but he notes that the door on his home facility has an automatic lock and a combination lock. You have to know the codes, says Walton, or you don’t get in. Animals for which there is no room at the clinic or ones that he doesn’t want to bother his staff about, come home with Walton. Any species considered a ‘hot’ species, like a rattlesnake, he will not take in at either his clinic or personal residence. For those he does house calls. “Venomous snakes are called ‘hot’. Any hot species I will only do off-site. I will not bring them in,” says Walton. “There is frankly too much risk and frankly most of the hot snakes don’t show up in the veterinarian field.” “There have only been a couple,” he continues. “I can say with over 10 years of dealing with snakes I have only dealt with two hot and none in Maple Ridge.”

But, there is a distinction between ‘hot’ and poisonous animals, says Walton. “Every spider on the planet is poisonous,” he says. “The Gila monster is poisonous to the extent that if you stick your hand in its mouth and let it chew on you for 10 to 15 minutes and then not seek medical attention, it will hurt for 48 hours. Nobody has ever died from a Gila monster.” A Gila monster is a heavy, slow moving lizard native to the southwestern United States and the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora. They are not very toxic, continues Walton, adding that again, he is the only person allowed to touch the animal and beyond that it is in a cage with a lock on it. Walton has a love/hate feeling for the hobbyist. On one hand he says that there are a lot of hobbyists who truly love these animals and zoos only have so much space. “For instance, a lot of the little poisoned dart frogs, zoos may only have four animals,” says Walton. “Well, that’s not a good genetic diversity.” On May 27, 2011, Dr. Adrian Walton was honoured for his contributions to animals in need during a special ceremony in Vancouver where he received the B.C. SPCA’s Veterinarian of the Year award. The award honours people who have made outstanding contributions to animal welfare over the past year and recipients can include, veterinarians, staff, volunteers and animal heroes. Dr. Walton was commended by B.C. SPCA Maple Ridge branch manager Mark Vosper for the extra time he spends helping sick or injured animals and the expertise and services he has donated over the years. “He is a strong advocate for animals, speaking out on a number of advocacy issues, and is always available to help the SPCA and a wide range of other rescue groups with veterinary care, attendance at special events and through his own personal donations,” says Vosper.

38 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

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OF THE COMMUNITY 39 | Our Community. Our People. | Supplement to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News | August 2011

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Our Community 2011  
Our Community 2011  

A special section featuring prominent members of Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows. Published in the August 31, 2011 issue of the Maple Ridge Pitt...