Both Port Haney and Port Hammond had a “Progressive Association” from early in 1908. These organizations addressed the particular needs of those neighbourhoods. By mid-1909, it had become clear that a district wide approach to encouraging business and infrastructural development so it was decided to form a “Maple Ridge Board of Trade” for the whole area between the Pitt and Stave Rivers.
The inaugural meeting was held in the town hall at Port Haney and largely consisted of men from Port Haney who were already involved in the Progressive Association. They had as speaker a man from the New Westminster Board of Trade that they intended to model.
Canvassing committees were set up to attract new members with special attention paid to Whonnock and Ruskin.
By the second meeting, they had sufficient representation from different neighbourhoods to move forward though Mr. Heaps of Ruskin was reportedly “prevented by accident from attending” and the “lateness of the CPR eastbound train” kept the Hammond men away. Nevertheless, the distances that needed to be travelled by the means of the day made it very difficult for some of the farther flung members to attend meetings. James Murray Webster of Webster’s Corners asked that his name be removed because he couldn’t get to meetings, particularly in the evening. The more northern neighbourhoods did not have the train as an option.
The Board of Trade group set their sights farther afield than the progressive associations. They lobbied for a University on Mary Hill, a bank at Port Haney, a traffic bridge across the Pitt River, and a never-ending stream of requests to the Canadian Pacific Railway for bigger and better-appointed stations.
These minutes are extremely valuable for showing the early relationships between the district wards and the men who represented them. They were maintained by the Maple Ridge Board of Trade until it became the Maple Ridge Chamber of Commerce in 1967 and later still, the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce in 1999.