Slot machines at the gaming centre in Maple Ridge brought in $819

Ridge gaming revenue set for special projects

District to speed up a few with a million dollars stashed away.

Maple Ridge’s bet on gambling revenues is turning up aces as the dollars from the Maple Ridge Community Gaming Centre keep rolling in.

After three years of earning a 10-per-cent share of slot machine revenues, Maple Ridge has piled up just under a million dollars that it can spend on special projects, yet to be determined.

The money comes from a 2011 decision to stash away any money in excess of $500,000 made from slots during the year.

Great Canadian Gaming Corp. expanded the Haney Bingo Plex on 224th Street and installed 100 slot machines in the fall of 2010.

Last year alone, the slot machines brought in $819,341 for the district, with totals expected to climb again next year, when the new gaming centre on 227th Street opens with 150 slot machines.

The numbers were part of a financial update of 2012 given to council on Tuesday.

The statement says the District of Maple Ridge finished $340,443 in the black after revenues of $125,490,917 were balanced off against expenses of about $125,150,474.

Of the total expenses, general government cost $12 million, while police and fire services soaked up $29 million, while transportation cost $9 million. Just under $18 million was spent on recreation services for residents.

The district is also looking at pushing other projects ahead of schedule, such as improving Lougheed Highway west of the new gaming centre to 226th Street and designing highway improvements west to 224th, Street where they would meet up with renovations that took place a few years ago between 224th and 223rd Street.

Maple Ridge has put aside $700,000 for the design work and to fix up the highway between 227th and 226th streets. About $300,000 will come from TransLink and about $200,000 from gaming dollars.

The district is also proposing to chip in another $85,000 in gaming revenues as part of a $400,000 project that will extend the improvements of 122nd Avenue in front of Maple Ridge secondary, east to 224th Street.

Staff are also suggesting $1.25 million be set aside to continue the downtown incentive plan, which gives cash incentives to builders to spark development in the core area.

The district could also replicate the program to attract commercial or industrial enterprises.

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