No work underway yet, just moving dirt

An excavator levels the property on Lougheed Highway near 227th Street. - Colleen Flanagan/The News
An excavator levels the property on Lougheed Highway near 227th Street.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/The News

A green construction fence surrounds the lot on Lougheed Highway and 227th Street and a heavy duty excavator is busy churning and chewing away at the gray muck.
It’s not the start of Great Canadian Gaming’s Corp.’s brand new building, but it may be the beginning of the beginning.
According to Maple Ridge district staff, the work underway is just to level the site, in preparation for piling soil or sand on to the lot in order to preload the soil for a year to allow for construction.
It’s the first step in the project that got final reading last year, after receiving third reading in 2008.
According to a staff report from last year, Great Canadian and B.C. Lottery Corp. have reduced the scale of the building, and extended its construction period, from the original plans of three years ago.
Soil conditions will require preloading the site for about a year, followed by a construction period that could take up to two years, meaning doors would open some time in 2013 or 2014.
When rezoning for the project got third reading in July 2008, a conference room was included with a capacity of 450, and the project cost about $24 million, boasting such features such as a green roof and energy efficiency. That proposal was for a 43,000-sq.-feet building, housing a 500-seat bingo parlour, 150 electronic slot machines, 30 seats for Racebook activities and a 150-seat cafe.
The final design however hasn’t been announced.
Great Canadian recently completed million-dollar renovations at the Haney Bingo Plex, expanding its premises and adding 100 new electronic slot machines to the bingo facilities on 224th Street.
Those were installed under a three-year agreement with the District of Maple Ridge after which it’s expected Great Canadian’s new building will be ready on 227th Street.
The new machines mean the district collects 10 per cent of the profits. Each 25 machines can earn on average, $100,000 a year for cities.
Great Canadian Gaming spokesman Howard Blank said Tuesday that nothing has changed regarding the company’s timeline.
“There’s been absolutely no change with our company with regards to anything in Maple Ridge.”
One of the district’s requirements for the project is for Great Canadian to complete the connection of 227th Street south at Lougheed Highway.

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