Well, last Wednesday January 27, 2004 Smart Growth on the ground launched it first attempt at a publicly supported program of charrettes to address the dismal state of our downtown area in Maple Ridge, British Columbia. The meeting was fairly well attended and 7 out of 10 citizens on a hand count felt that this initiative stood a chance of resultant change. We'll see.

There will be three or four more meetings to establish a design brief and then the charrettes will follow in late May early June. Our tired old Haney Place Mall exchanged hands on the same day as the public meeting and was purchased, it is rumoured by a company called Anthem. Somewhat of a cooincidence.

Last year this town grew by 3.7% - the expectation was 2.5%. We are now at 72,000 with 120,000 expected by 2020. I believe we will reach that target much sooner and the only way we can spare the onslaught on our agricultural reserve lands is to densify the town centre with low rise buildings. This will also bring the much needed retail action that the town centre has lost over the past hundered years.

Tha'ts all for now.

Claus