Radio Haney took a walk into the core this morning to the Haney Market. A small scattering of vegetable and crafts stores with promises of more to come. The district appears to be going full ball in paving 224th's Spirit Square project in time for the summer crowds and festivals. Good see some form of dynamic energy being churned out in the downtown. RH walked back via Dewdney Trunk Road where - incredibly - many new small business are springing up on both the north and south side between 222nd and 224th. Could this be an indication of where the weight is shifting for retailers in the downtown core. With the Haney Place Mall apparently only frequented by the infirm and with the acceptance by almost everyone that the Haney Place Mall will remain as it until Shia Law becomes the rule in Maple Ridge, it is interesting to see that locals beginning to frequent our niche stores.
For many years now it has been suggested via studies and surveys that the only thing our downtown is good for businesswise is the small retailer. The trouble is that an epedmic of break ins, vandalism and petty crime including murder, drug dealing, prostitution and the slumdog millionaire neglect of property made famous in the movie "I was a slumdog millionaire in Maple Ridge" starring Jack Athawal has resulted in many retailers not even qualifying for insurance and having to leave town. True many businesses open in Maple Ridge. But in discussions with certain retailers Radio Haney learned that many of these businesses cannot get insurance for their stock as it is being turned over more often than expected by our local petty thieves who seem to have learned how to avoid detection by the local (well not really local) constabulary, ably assisted by a number of hired eyes and volunteers.
For all of its woes the downtown is showing some signs of vitality. As long as the district continues to clean the joint up and keep the pressure on the likes of community dysfunctionals like Jack then we may make some progress. The first shooting of a 'known drug dealer' this week will not have escaped the attention of anyone interested. The opening of the Golden Ears Bridge this month coming will mean it will be easier for the Fraser Valley hit men to access Maple Ridge's naughty boys, take them out, and make a hasty retreat south across the Fraser. The Golden Ears Bridge may be golden in more way than one - as in 'golden' opportunity.