Downtown Ridge incentive program issues more grants

Former fire chief Bill Park, who owns land in the North Lougheed area, speaks in favour of amending Pitt Meadows official community plan. - Monisha Martins/The News
Former fire chief Bill Park, who owns land in the North Lougheed area, speaks in favour of amending Pitt Meadows official community plan.
— image credit: Monisha Martins/The News

Maple Ridge is dishing out another $90,316 in incentive grants to developers who, in return, will spend $31 million on new construction in the downtown.

The money is part of the town centre incentive program, designed to kickstart building in the downtown through tax exemptions, speedier processing and outright grants.

The program, approved in 2010, expired in December 2013, with the commercial component extended for a year.

The grants were for three of the latest projects, one at 11862 – 226th St., a four-storey, $4-million condo project. The grant to Falcon Homes was for $28,023.

A second grant of $37,293 was given to Falcon Homes, Stacks and Decker Developments and Mainstay Holdings for a four-storey condo building at 22327 River Rd. The project is worth $8.45 million.

Another grant is estimated at $23,000, but not finalized. That will go to HSH Hotel Ltd., for construction of the 125-room hotel planned for the foot of 224th Street. The construction project is valued at $18.5 million.

Under the incentive program, the district will pay up to 10 per cent of the development cost charges for residential and mixed-use projects and 25 per cent of the development cost charges for commercial projects. Discounts for building permit charges are also available.

Council approved the program in 2010, allocating a total of $740,000 for the upfront incentives.

As result, more than $100 million in construction projects have begun in the downtown core of Maple Ridge in the past three years.

With the latest amounts approved, $330,703 is remaining in the account allocated for incentives. Some other projects remain in the process for the program, but it’s unlikely the entire remaining amount will be used.

A report by Laura Benson, corporate planning manager, says that after three years, “feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Benson added though that some people have said the district should not be using property tax revenue, mainly from residential sources, to support business.

However, surveys have shown there’s strong support for the downtown.


Study on connector

Maple Ridge council wants a proper study on the effects on traffic of building the North Lougheed Connector, to join Golden Ears Way to Lougheed Highway.

That’s the response the district will send to the City of Pitt Meadows after being invited to comment on Pitt Meadows’s plans for the area.

The city is proposing to change the official community plan and the use for 124 acres north of Lougheed Highway and east of Harris Road to highway commercial.

The city had part of the property excluded from the Agricultural Land Reserve last year.

The City of Pitt Meadows is asking Metro Vancouver to change its regional plan, allowing urban development in the area. The new road would connect to Golden Ears Way, north of the Meadow Gardens Golf Course.

“That’s the exit and entrance to Maple Ridge so we want to make sure the impact of that is known,” said Coun. Cheryl Ashlie on Tuesday.

According to the city’s consultants, developing the property for commercial use, along with the business park in the South Bonson area, could change Pitt Meadows’s tax distribution and could account for 53 per cent of the tax base by 2027.


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