The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has updated its plans for improving the Haney Bypass and Lougheed Highway, but not to the complete satisfaction of two Maple Ridge councillors.
The latest designs only require a five-metre-wide strip, allowing the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries building to remain at the corner of the Haney Bypass and highway.
Darrell Pilgrim, Salvation Army executive director, confirmed, the building is remaining.
“Our plan is continue to offer our community services, but no housing,” he said.
Coun. Gordy Robson said council was told previously that the Sally Ann building would be removed and that the bypass would be widened to two lanes both ways as far as 227th Street.
The latest plan, though, calls for the bypass to remain at two lanes in each direction south of Lougheed Highway, then go down to one eastbound lane at Callaghan Avenue, allowing an improved merging lane eastbound from River Road.
Council thought the entire Salvation Army operation would be relocated to the site on Burnett Street, where B.C. Housing announced plans for an 80-bed shelter. It is the be operated by the Salvation Army.
That project, however, has yet to receive city rezoning.
“So that’s basically going to give us a Salvation Army on both sides of town,” Robson said.
However, it’s not certain yet what programs will be offered from the existing Salvation Army building, if the shelter programs move to another location.
“I think it’s a horrible mess,” Robson added.
The ministry, though, said there’s been no scaling back of the highway plans.
Janelle Erwin, deputy director with the ministry, said the cost of the project remains at $22.3 million.
“Even the scope of it has not changed.”
However, the design has now reached the halfway point, allowing more specifics to be added.
There are still plans to create a double right-hand turn from Lougheed Highway on to the Haney Bypass, she added.
A new traffic light at Callaghan Avenue will be part of the project, providing breaks in the traffic for vehicles merging from River Road.
For vehicles westbound on Lougheed Hwy. at Kanaka Way, there will be a double left-hand turn from Lougheed on to the bypass.
Coun. Craig Speirs agrees that the project has been downscaled and council was expecting the project to encompass the Salvation Army property, allowing the removal of that building.
“It just wasn’t what we expected. Having the [Salvation Army] building remain was quite upsetting. Part of the process means that there wouldn’t be a shelter on the main drag.”
However, he viewed the improvements as the first of a two-phase project, with the second being the complete four-laning of the bypass.
“I think this is provincial decision-making we’re just getting up to speed on,” Mayor Nicole Read said at council’s Tuesday meeting.
The city is trying to get more information from the government.