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New tourist attractions

You can paddle in a canoe in Alouette Lake and maybe, if you’re lucky, hear a loon and its plaintive call.

For more excitement, zoom on a zip line at WildPlay Elements Maple Ridge on Fern Crescent.

And if a deal can be reached, you could blast away at friends and family at a Delta Force Paintball location nearby.

Afterwards, chill out in your campground on 112th Avenue, near Whonnock Lake.

The latter two are still proposals, but if leases can be worked out for District of Maple Ridge lands, two new enterprises could draw tourist dollars to Maple Ridge.

But neither will come cheaply.

The Delta Force Paintball, proposed for Fern Crescent near the entrance to Golden Ears Provincial Park, will require a million dollars of investment to build a 10- to 20-acre facility.

If leasing talks go well, it could open within six months.

District property manager Darrell Denton said Delta Force is based out of the United Kingdom, where the company uses country estates for its paintball games.

“These guys are not small potatoes,” Denton said. “They’re regarded as the Disneyland of paintball.”

Delta Force says it uses movie-set quality games zones and has locations in seven countries. It already operates in Edmonton and Tsawwsassen.

“They peacefully co-exist where ever they go.”

He agreed that a paintball facility nearby the already existing Wildplay Element Park could help both attractions. WildPlay has been in Maple Ridge for four years and also leases District of Maple Ridge property for about $32,000 annually.

WildPlay received a temporary rent reduction after lower-than-projected startup numbers, but is now back to paying the full amount, Denton said.

Last year, WildPlay attracted more than 15,000 visitors.

Maple Ridge Paintball already operates at the north end of 224th Street.

The 51-acre campground, Seyem’ Qwantlen Business Group, part of the Kwantlen First Nation, will require water, sewer and electrical services, will take more than $6 million to get off the ground.

Before any of the work starts, though, the municipality and the tourist operators have to reach a deal for leasing the district’s lands, which requires that negotiations begin soon. The intent is to obtaining leasing agreements that could be for medium or long terms, without precluding any future use of the land.

Council approved staff starting talks last week.

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