-- Wednesday, August 3, 2011 --
It’s going to be easier to get through PittMeadows and across the Pitt River Bridge nowthat there’s an extra lane to move you west.The opening of the $20-million westboundhigh occupancy lane will cut down trafﬁc jamsand get motorists on to the Pitt River Bridge.Bus riders heading to Coquitlam will geteven more of a break with the addition of busqueue-jump lanes in both directions at theKennedy Road intersection at the east end of the Pitt River Bridge.Those lanes allow buses to skip ahead of regular trafﬁc thanks to the operation of traf-ﬁc signals.“These improvements on the LougheedHighway will make travel through this busyarea more convenient and safer for motoristsand buses,” Transportation Minister BlairLekstrom said. “This project will make a realdifference to people living in these busy com-munities as it provides better and faster traveloptions.”The HOV lane that begins west of HarrisRoad is now extended east for about two kilo-metres so it begins at Dewdney Trunk Road.A new metre-high centre median barrier onLougheed Highway also improves safety forbuses and other vehicles.The project advances the objectives of theProvincial Transit Plan by making transitmore attractive.In 2008, the government launched the planto double transit ridership and reduce green-house gases by 4.7 million tonnes cumulative-ly by 2020.Meanwhile, Maple Ridge is getting on with afew of its road ﬁx-up projects.Starting this week, repair and resurfacingbegins of River Road between Carshill andDarby streets, following the installation of thestorm sewer upgrade. Most of the work willtake place in August.Another storm sewer project along ShadyLane (124th Avenue, between 216th and Laitystreets) will see a new multi-use path go atopthe utility line, making it easier for pedestri-ans and cyclists, while preserving the heritagetrees that give the road its name. Only one treewas chopped down because of that project.The district also recently resurfaced ashort stretch of Lougheed Highway, justeast of 228th Street, and applied lane mark-ings.In Pitt Meadows, repaving is going onNeaves Road between the south and northAlouette rivers, as well as on Ladner Road,east of Rennie Road.Old Dewdney Trunk Road will also berepaved -- supposedly from McKechnie toSharp road
Pitt River Bridge HOV lane now open
A publicly-traded companyfocused on consolidating Can-ada’s fragmented childcareindustry has acquired at leasttwo daycares in Maple Ridgeas it rapidly expands acrossthe country.Edleun Group Inc. complet-ed it purchase of the MapleRidge businesses earlier thismonth and has agreementsfor two other redevelopmentproperties, as well an addi-tional centres in B.C.“Closing of these acquisi-tions cements our initial moveinto the British Columbiamarketplace, which broad-ens national awareness of the Edleun brand and cre-ates new childcare spaces inunder-served communities,”said Leslie Wulf, chief ex-ecutive ofﬁcer of Edleun in apress release.Located in Maple Ridge, Co-quitlam, Port Moody and Kel-owna, the ﬁve childcare cen-tres with 422 licensed spaceswere purchased for price of $4.1 million.Maple Ridge Learning Cen-tre, 21593 Dewdney TrunkRoad, and Maple Ridge WestLearning Centre, 12209 –206th Street are listed on thecompany’s website.Edleun did not return callsfor comment on the take-overand calls to the Maple Ridgedaycares were directed to thecompany’s Calgary head of-ﬁce.A press release issued byEdleun, however, stressedthe value of its recent acquisi-tions.“We are extremely pleasedwith the closing of thesetransactions,” said Wulf.“These acquisitions arequite material, both strategi-cally in terms of entrenchingour expansion into British Co-lumbia and ﬁnancially due totheir contribution to our bot-tom line proﬁtability and cashﬂow.”Edleun estimates there are8,800 childcare centres acrossCanada and aims to become alarger player through acquisi-tions of new and existing op-erations, with plans to control10 per cent of the Canadianmarket.A 23,550-square-foot earlylearning and care facilityis targeted to open in early2012 in south Calgary. whichwill create 247 new licensedchild care spaces and provideemployment to 33 early child-hood educators.All Edleun-owned centresare standardized and offera set curriculum, as well asmenus, planned by a regis-tered dietician.The company’s aggressiveexpansion plans, however,worry childcare advocateswho characterized Edleunapproach as “big box childcare.”“They are not really in thebusiness of childcare, theyare in the business of makingmoney for their investors,”said Michael Lanier, chairper-son for CUPE B.C.’s childcareworking group.Edleun Group Inc., whichbegan trading on the TSXin 2010, reported unauditedconsolidated earnings of $3,501,973 for the ﬁrst quarterof 2011.Lanier points to Australia’sABC Learning Centres as anexample of a large-scale cor-porate childcare operationsgone awry. At its height, ABCLearning Centres owned 25per cent of the daycare spac-es in Australia – more than1,000 – centres but folded in2008 with $1.6 billion of debt.Wulf, Edleun’s CEO, waslinked to ABC Learning Cen-tres Canadian arm, 123 BusyBeavers.“The Edleun Group is real-ly involved in the real estatemarket,” said Lanier.“They drive the competi-tion out of the area. Theybuy buildings, set it all upand then they’ve got them-selves a real estate invest-ment. They are not really inthis because they believe inchild care. “As Edleun expanded acrossCanada, the company active-ly sought out private daycareoperators, including many inMaple Ridge, asking if theywanted to sell.Sanya Boatter, who ownsStart Smart, a for-proﬁt day-care with 170 spaces and astaff of 28, conﬁrmed thecompany was snifﬁng aroundthe Maple Ridge childcaremarket.She, too, worries about alarge corporation, focusedon racking in proﬁts for in-vestors, caring for kids.“I’ve heard a lot a talkabout big box daycares,” saidBoatter.“It’s just so large you losethose inter-personal connec-tions.”
Buses will also be able jump the queue in both directions at Kennedy Road intersection.
‘Big box’ daycare setting up in Maple Ridge
Maple Ridge also workingon road projectsCUPE concerned aboutEdleun Group moves
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